Thursday, January 15, 2015

Oscar Nominations: How Did I Do?

Yesterday I laid out my predictions for which films, actors, and directors would get nominated. This morning, the Oscar nominations were announced, and as always, there were a few good surprises and a few head-scratching, upsetting snubs.

So how did I do? As always, I did fairly well, missing one or two here and there, and even being 100 percent correct in one, maybe two categories. So here are this year's nominations in the major categories:

Best Picture
American Sniper
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything

Analysis: Over the last several years, the Academy has this irritating quirk that it won't set a fixed number of nominees for Best Picture, only a minimum of five and a maximum of ten. Nine films have been nominated the last few years. In my predictions I listed 10; this year eight were nominated. Technically, I was perfect in this category—all eight films nominated were on my list; only Foxcatcher and Gone Girl didn't make the cut. (I'm not disappointed in the former; I am in the latter.)

Best Actor
Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper, American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton, Birdman
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

Analysis: I went 3/5 in this category, although I did say that Carell and Cooper were strong possibilities. I must say, the most egregious snub of the day (even more than The Lego Movie getting passed over in the Best Animated Film category) was David Oyelowo not being nominated for his magnificent performance in Selma. I'm guessing he isn't as well known as some of the other nominees, and wonder if the controversy around his film hurt his chances. I would also have loved to see Jake Gyllenhaal get his second nomination. But this category isn't bad—four out of the five actors received their first nomination, and Bradley Cooper received his third consecutive Oscar nomination. (I don't know if I imagined this when I watched him on Alias years ago!)

Best Actress
Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night
Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon, Wild

Analysis: I went 4/5 here, although I did say Cotillard was a possibility despite her not receiving Golden Globe or SAG nominations. It would have been fun to see Jennifer Aniston get a nomination for Cake, but perhaps this signals a new direction for her career, and I'm excited about that. Jones and Pike received their first nominations, previous winners Cotillard (2007) and Witherspoon (2005) received their second nominations, and Moore received her fifth nomination (her third for Best Actress).

Best Supporting Actor
Robert Duvall, The Judge
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Edward Norton, Birdman
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Analysis: I went 5/5 here. There was an outside possibility that someone like Josh Brolin for Inherent Vice or Tom Wilkinson for Selma might sneak in, but that didn't happen. Simmons received his first nomination, Hawke and Ruffalo received their second nomination, Norton received his third (second for Best Supporting Actor), and Duvall received his seventh, his fourth in this category. (His one Oscar win was in 1983, Best Actor for Tender Mercies.)

Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Laura Dern, Wild
Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
Emma Stone, Birdman
Meryl Streep, Into the Woods

Analysis: I went 4/5 here, and I'm thrilled. Laura Dern's nomination was a total surprise, as she had been mentioned early on, but didn't get any notice from the critics or other awards, so I thought she was a lost cause. I'm quite excited about this category. Arquette and Stone received their first nominations, Dern and Knightley received their second (their first in this category), and Streep received an unprecedented 19th nomination, her fourth for Best Supporting Actress. (Her first win was in this category in 1979, for Kramer Vs. Kramer.)

Best Director
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Alejandro Gonzales Iñarritu, Birdman
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher
Morton Tyldum, The Imitation Game

Analysis: I went 3/5 here, mainly because I was hoping the Academy would make history by nominating Ava DuVernay for Selma, making her the first African American woman nominated in this category. But given the number of women (four) nominated in this category, her omission is unsurprising. I also thought Clint Eastwood, a two-time winner in this category, would get a nod for American Sniper, but maybe the liberal Academy is still making him pay for scolding the chair during the 2012 GOP convention. Tyldum was nominated for a Directors Guild Award, so his nomination here isn't surprising, but I was surprised by Miller's inclusion, especially since his movie wasn't nominated for Best Picture. Anderson, Linklater, and Tyldum received their first nominations; Iñarritu and Miller received their second.

Who will win? The Oscars will be handed out Sunday, February 22. You know I'll be watching!!

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