Today the Academy announced the nominations for the 87th Oscars, which will be held February 22nd. With the exception of a few notable snubs, things went pretty much the way the pundits (wait…am I a pundit now?) had predicted. The Grand Budapest Hotel lead the way with nine nominations, Boyhood had seven and The Imitation Game and American Sniper both had six. It’s American Sniper that, to me, is the surprise of the awards. It hadn’t done much of anything in the run-up awards until two days ago when Clint Eastwood was nominated for a Directors’ Guild Award. So it makes perfect sense that he didn’t get nominated for an Oscar, including Bradley Cooper nabbing his third in a row (most likely bumping Selma’s David Oyelowo. Meryl Streep grabbed a nomination for Into the Woods, making that an eye-popping 19 for her career.
Aside from American Sniper’s surge and Selma’s seeming slide, to me two snubs stood out immediately. Amy Adams, who usually is nominated at the drop of a hat, didn’t even get a nod after winning the Golden Globe for her performance in Tim Burton’s Big Eyes. Gone Girl, which was supposed to be a player in every major race was nearly shut out. Then there’s The LEGO Movie. One of the most original and fantastic films of the year, certainly a landmark in animation history, and it’s not even nominated?!? Though I am freaking stoked that “Everything is Awesome” was remembered in Song. But to bump it from Animated film for The Boxtrolls???. This is why Killing Time puts on The Renaissance Film Awards each year and we’ll have those coming out shortly before the Oscars.
With the option to nominate anywhere between 5-10 pictures for Best Picture, this year they settled on eight. By the end of the weekend, I will have seen half of them. Hopefully the others get wider releases so I can check them out before Oscar Night. Without further ado, let’s get into each category and prognosticate.
Nominations for the 87th Academy Awards:
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
KT Says: This is Boyhood’s to lose. It’s swept the pre-Oscar awards. It’s not inconceivable that a momentum surge for Grand Budapest or American Sniper could cause an upset, but I think this is as close to a lock as you can get this early.
Alejandro G. Iñárritu – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Richard Linklater – Boyhood
Bennett Miller – Foxcatcher
Wes Anderson – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Morten Tyldum – The Imitation Game
KT Says: The sheer feat of filming Boyhood using the same children over a 12-year span of time should bring this to Richard Linklater.
Actor in a Leading Role
Steve Carell – Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper – American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything
KT Says: I’m thrilled, even without seeing the films yet, that both Steve Carrell and Benedict Cumberbatch got their first Oscar nods. That being said, neither of them has a chance. This is going to be one of the few suspenseful big races: Keaton vs. Redmayne. The Academy tends to go older on the theory that younger actors will be back, so I’m predicting Keaton joins George Clooney, Christian Bale and Ben Affleck as Batmen with Oscars. Not too many Oscars amongst the Supermen, eh? Just saying….
Actress in a Leading Role
Marion Cotillard – Two Days, One Night
Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore – Still Alice
Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon – Wild
KT Says: Cotillard is the surprise and probably bumped Amy Adams (I’m going to pause for a second and enjoy that visual…..and I’m back). Julianne Moore’s been picking up win after win for Still Alice. The only person who might challenge her is Reese Witherspoon, but I think after five nominations, Moore will finally get her Oscar.
Actor in a Supporting Role
Robert Duvall – The Judge
Ethan Hawke – Boyhood
Edward Norton – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons – Whiplash
KT Says: JK Simmons will win this. J. Jonah Jameson will have an Oscar. One of the great character actors of our time……has anyone else never heard of Whiplash (I’m Googling it). Why did Duvall get nominated for a movie that was critically thrashed like The Judge was?
Actress in a Supporting Role
Patricia Arquette – Boyhood
Laura Dern – Wild
Keira Knightley – The Imitation Game
Emma Stone – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Meryl Streep – Into the Woods
KT Says: I love seeing Emma Stone here. I think the Oscars would freak out if Streep wasn’t nominated for something. She’s calms them. She’s the Academy’s Linus blanket. Patricia Arquette has had a stranglehold on this and I think that carries through to Oscar night.
Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
American Sniper, Written by Jason Hall
The Imitation Game, Written by Graham Moore
Inherent Vice, Written by Paul Thomas Anderson
The Theory of Everything, Written by Anthony McCarten
Whiplash, Written by Damien Chazelle
KT Says: Unless it gets caught in some kind of sweep, I think it’s a toss-up between The Theory of Everything and The Imitation Game (and I’m going to pick the latter, because when in doubt, bet on something that contains Cumberbatch over something that is regretfully Cumberbatchless).
Writing (Original Screenplay)
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Written by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Alexander Dinelaris, Nicolas Giacobone, Armando Bo
Boyhood, Written by Richard Linklater
Foxcatcher, Written by Dan Futterman and E. Max Frye
The Grand Budapest Hotel, Written by Wes Anderson
Nightcrawler, Written by Dan Gilroy
KT Says: I think Grand Budapest will take this because it’s not going to win anything bigger and the Academy will want to reward Wes Anderson for creating something as bizarre as the Grand Budapest
Foreign Language Film
Ida (Music Box Films), Poland, Pawel Pawlikowski
Leviathan (Sony Pictures Classics), Russia, Andrey Zvyagintsev
Tangerines, Estonia, Zaza Urushadze
Timbuktu (Cohen Media Group), Mauritania, Abderrahmane Sissako
Wild Tales (Sony Pictures Classics), Argentina, Damián Szifrón
KT Says: Have yet to see any of these, but Ida is nominated in other categories so I’m leaning toward that as the strongest film on instinct. Check out Mauritania and Estonia getting films nominated! Awesome!
Animated Feature Film
Big Hero 6 (Walt Disney Pictures)
The Boxtrolls (Focus Features)
How to Train a Dragon 2 (DreamWorks Animation)
Song of the Sea (GKIDS)
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (GKIDS)
KT Says: This is the biggest snub of the Oscars, to me. I don’t know if it was because it was released back in February or the Academy voters are LEGO bigots, but not even nominating the most innovative animated film since Toy Story for Best Animated Feature would make me angry if I wasn’t so gobsmacked by it that I don’t even know what to say. Big Hero 6 is the most enjoyable Disney animated feature since Aladdin and picking between it and LEGO would have been a tough battle, but if it doesn’t win now….I might throw a toaster at the television.
The Grand Budapest Hotel – Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
The Imitation Game – Production Design: Maria Djurkovic; Set Decoration: Tatiana Macdonald
Interstellar – Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Gary Fettis
Into the Woods – Production Design: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
Mr. Turner – Production Design: Suzie Davies; Set Decoration: Charlotte Watts
KT Says: Interstellar certainly deserves to be here, but I think Grand Budapest takes it. There’s no mistaking the look of that film for any other.
Emmanuel Lubezki – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Robert Yeoman – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski – Ida
Dick Pope – Mr. Turner
Roger Deakins – Unbroken
KT Says: If it surges, I could see Birdman pulling this one out, but I think Grand Budapest is the early favorite in this one, as well.
Milena Canonero – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Mark Bridges – Inherent Vice
Colleen Atwood – Into the Woods
Anna B. Sheppard and Jane Clive – Maleficent
Jacqueline Durran – Mr. Turner
KT Says: Maleficent and Mr. Turner get costume nods but The Hobbit gets one nomination? I’m past trying to understand the hate. Costume always seems to go to the most obscure film on the list; here that’s Inherent Vice, so that’s the pick.
Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach – American Sniper
Sandra Adair – Boyhood
Barney Pilling – The Grand Budapest Hotel
William Goldenberg – The Imitation Game
Tom Cross – Whiplash
KT Says: 12 years of footage. Sandra Adair had to take 12 years worth of footage and make a movie out of it. Boyhood definitely deserves this one.
Finding Vivian Maier (Sundance Selects)
Last Days in Vietnam (American Experience)
The Salt of the Earth (Sony Pictures Classics)
KT Says: I’m abstaining from this and the shorts categories because I’ll never get around to seeing them, but I find it fascinating that if Virunga wins, Netflix will have an Oscar!
Makeup and Hairstyling
Bill Corso and Dennis Liddiard – Foxcatcher
Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou and David White – Guardians of the Galaxy
KT Says: This always goes to the film that deserves it the least, so I am picking Foxcatcher, but you have no idea how badly I want Guardians to win the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first Oscar.
Music (Original Score)
Alexandre Desplat – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Alexandre Desplat – The Imitation Game
Hans Zimmer – Interstellar
Gary Yershon – Mr. Turner
Jóhann Jóhannsson – The Theory of Everything
KT Says: It makes perfect sense that in a year with no worthy scores, they’d nominate Hans Zimmer for the only thing he’s done in about a decade that I didn’t like. I think Desplat will split votes (being nominated twice does not improve your chances of winning). I’m going with Johann Johannsson for The Theory of Everything.
Music (Original Song)
“Everything Is Awesome” from The LEGO Movie
Music and Lyric by Shawn Patterson
“Glory” from Selma
Music and Lyric by John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn
“Grateful” from Beyond the Lights
Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me
Music and Lyric by Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond
“Lost Stars” from Begin Again
Music and Lyric by Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois
KT Says: Everything is Awesome should win. It’s the most memorable and, time will show it to be the most enduring, of this batch. Glory has been taking all the awards though, so I think it will here too. It, most likely will be all that Selma wins.
John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Walt Martin – American Sniper
Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and Thomas Varga – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Gary A. Rizzo, Gregg Landaker and Mark Weingarten – Interstellar
Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and David Lee – Unbroken
Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley – Whiplash
KT Says: Interstellar but a very real possibility it shifts to American Sniper if the film keeps gathering momentum.
Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman – American Sniper
Martín Hernández and Aaron Glascock – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Brent Burge and Jason Canovas – The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Richard King – Interstellar
Becky Sullivan and Andrew DeCristofaro – Unbroken
KT Says: The Hobbit Trilogy managed 7 nominations, which is roughly a third of what Lord of the Rings pulled in. They haven’t given it a single statue and they’re not going to this year. I call American Sniper with Interstellar runningclose.
Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Bryan Grill and Dan Sudick – Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett and Erik Winquist – Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Stephane Ceretti, Nicolas Aithadi, Jonathan Fawkner and Paul Corbould – Guardians of the Galaxy
Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher – Interstellar
Richard Stammers, Lou Pecora, Tim Crosbie and Cameron Waldbauer – X-Men: Days of Future Past
KT Says: This is honestly the only category where my nominations will match the Academy’s spot-on. I do applaud them for that. Any of these films are worthy, but the film that advanced how F/X will impact film is Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
Here are the last three categories, which I’ll abstain for my previously mentioned reason of not having any interest in seeing anything in them and will most likely make a sandwich when they’re presented
Documentary (Short Subject)
Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 – Ellen Goosenberg Kent and Dana Perry
Joanna – Aneta Kopacz
Our Curse – Tomasz Sliwinski and Maciej Slesicki
The Reaper (La Parka) – Gabriel Serra Arguello
White Earth – J. Christian Jensen
Short Film (Animated)
The Bigger Picture – Daisy Jacobs and Christopher Hees
The Dam Keeper – Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi
Feast – Patrick Osborne and Kristina Reed
Me and My Moulton – Torill Kove
A Single Life – Joris Oprins
Short Film (Live Action)
Aya – Oded Binnun and Mihal Brezis
Boogaloo and Graham – Michael Lennox and Ronan Blaney
Butter Lamp (La Lampe Au Beurre De Yak) – Hu Wei and Julien Féret
Parvaneh – Talkhon Hamzavi and Stefan Eichenberger
The Phone Call – Mat Kirby and James Lucas
Set to be hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, The 87th Annual Academy Awards will be held on Sunday, February 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, and will be televised live by the ABC.