Last night, the 87th Academy Awards Ceremony was held in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, in Switzerland, movie buffs stayed up all night to watch it. Resident movie fans Silvia and Dom share their thoughts.
First of all, Silvia is currently operating on two hours of sleep. Because Silvia stayed up all night and watched it. She claims that by now, her newsfeed is full of pictures of Neil Patrick Harris in underwear and that she’s just about had enough of it. Meanwhile, Dom hasn’t seen it live and is therefore way more awake.
We’ve skipped categories where we either haven’t seen a single movie that was nominated or have no pronounced opinion on the winner. Because why write about something we don’t have anything to say about?
That said, here’s a conversation between two movie fans, one tired the other not, about the 87th time the Oscars were handed out.
Best Picture: Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Dom:I’m surprised that American Sniper didn’t win. Because I kind of expect the most American movie to win ever since Hurt Locker. Then again, Birdman was an outstanding film on both a narrative and a directorial level.
Silvia: Birdman was the biggest surprise for me at least. Didn’t expect that for the movie at all. I was voting for American Sniper or Theory of Everything.
Best Directing: Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Dom: I’m not surprised at all, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) is a very accomplished movie when it comes to the way it’s shot. That takes some serious skill on the part of the actors as well as the crew.
Silvia: Still haven’t seen Foxcatcher, which seems to be one of the losers of the evening anyway. But Alejandro deserves that one. No matter if he doesn’t consider his English well enough for two acceptance speeches, his directing was incredible
Best Actor: Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything
Dom: The obvious fan favourite here would have been Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game, but to be fair… he was just being Benedict Cumberbatch in the film, with an added stutter.
Silvia: The Sherlock Fan in me wanted Benedict Cumberbatch to win but I didn’t really think he would. He played his part well, but to be honest, Eddie Redmayne‘s role was much more challenging in many ways.
Best Actress: Julianne Moore in Still Alice
Dom: Julianne Moore is always good, but I haven’t seen any movie on the list apart from Gone Girl which was a solid performance by Rosamund Pike but hardly outstanding.
Silvia: I like Julianne, just can’t say anything about the movie. She usually puts everything she has into the characters she plays. And I guess from what I’ve seen in the clips of Still Alice that this is the case here too. I really loved her speech. Was a moving one. After all the Alzheimer’s disease is a very difficult topic. They had some moving speeches anyway this year.
Best Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons in Whiplash
Dom: J. K. Simmons absolutely deserved this Oscar. That was a truly stellar performance from an accomplished actor. Not only is Whiplash one of the top ten movies I’ve ever seen but Simmons plays one of the very best villains cinema has had to offer.
Silvia: Yes. I guessed you would say that it was well deserved. And yes, I still plan to see it just probably not at the cinema anymore. Can’t really say that the others were that special. Duvall did a good job that was it. Edward Norton was kind of Edward Norton. Don’t know, guess Simmons had the most intense part to play.
Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette in Boyhood
Dom: I have absolutely no opinion on this one. I’ve seen Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) and The Imitation Game but neither parts stood out.
Silvia: That one I expected specially after the Golden Globes. Twelve years shooting a movie should be worth something after all. Wondering if she gets paid better now for CSI: Cyber.
Best Original Screenplay: Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Dom: There were a number of good original screenplays this year. I greatly enjoyed The Grand Budapest Hotel and Nightcrawler was wonderfully unsettling. I did like the story-within-a-story element of Birdman a lot, though.
Silvia: Yes, Birdman deserves it. But still Nightcrawler would have been my favorite. They left out Jake Gyllenhaal in the actor’s category and that was the one award they should have taken home. Didn’t quite feel right to me.
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Imitation Game
Dom: I would have given this one to Whiplash because it’s an extraordinary story. The stakes are not particularly high for any of the characters in it, yet it feels like the entire world is at stake and manages to be more thrilling than even some of the best thrillers out there. The Imitation Game wasn’t too bad, even though it’s historically wildly inaccurate.
Silvia: You put it perfectly. I thought it’s gonna be Imitation Game here. Not because it was my favourite, just had this feeling. Can’t really say anything else.
Best Animated Feature Film: Big Hero 6
Dom: Why am I not surprised? Because whenever a new Pixar and/or Disney CGI-film comes out, it seems to win an Oscar. Big Hero 6 was good but Oscar-worthy? I don’t know. Then again, the others weren’t that impressive either. It feels like the entire animation industry is having a period of rest where they just do what they’ve done last year and thus, the successes of last year repeat themselves.
Silvia: I love the character of Baymax. The movie was good, not extraordinary but I had fun. Then again, I also had fun watching How to Train Your Dragon 2.
Best Documentary – Feature: Citizenfour
Dom: Laura Poitras deserved that one. Not only has she braved all kinds of persecution by the US government to make this movie, but it’s a necessary work for our times. Although I bet everyone is tired of hearing about Edward Snowden‘s leaks, they’re evidence of the biggest crime committed by politicians and secret services ever.
Silvia: I agree with that 100%.
Best Original Score: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Dom: This one honestly surprised me. Not because The Grand Budapest Hotel was unexpected, but because none of the scores are particularly prominent in the movie. Also, is it me or has Hans Zimmer‘s work changed from grand scores like he did back in the 1990s to almost ambient noise like music?
Silvia: No it isn’t just you, it really changed. I am still a fan, but the music from Interstellar was nothing compared to scores like the one from The Lion King for example. Can’t say why they choose The Grand Budapest Hotel though.
Best Original Song: Glory from Selma
Dom: How can something as catchy as Everything is Awesome from The LEGO movie not win? Okay, it’s a slightly annoying song that you can’t get rid of and the lyrics are consciously shallow and plasticky, but it’s a fantastic song for a fantastic movie. Also, Lost Stars in Begin Again was a pretty good song.
Silvia: Glory was touching, just not sure if it really was the song or if it just won because of the movie is used in, Selma. Everything is Awesome was the best live performance of the evening. Can’t say why but Adam Levine‘s Lost Stars sounded a bit strange on stage. The song itself is still beautiful though.
Best Production Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Dom: Come to think of it, The Grand Budapest Hotel wasn’t my obvious favourite, but it did look really good. It felt coherent in its slightly hyperrealistically overdrawn world and in all its oddities. But I don’t understand why Interstellar was nominated here. Sure, I get that the movie was supposed to look understated and low-tech, but it just looked generic for the most part.
Silvia: I am absolutely okay with The Grand Budapest Hotel. Everything felt right in place. Into the Woods would have been my second choice. Interstellar had the typical blockbuster ambience, no matter what.
Best Makeup and Hairstyling: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Dom: I disagree here. I liked The Grand Budapest Hotel a lot and it did look good. But Guardians of the Galaxy managed to create so many radically different looks, ranging from Dave Bautista‘s very intricate full body make-up as Drax the Destroyer to the decidedly understated Peter Quill whose looks are as human as it gets.
Silvia: Oh yes, absolutely Guardians of the Galaxy should have won here. Still not surprised that they ignored it though. They tend to do this with fantasy/sci-fi movies.
Best Costume Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Dom: See, now here I can agree with it again. Sure Guardians of the Galaxy would have deserved at least a nomination here, but The Grand Budapest Hotel managed to have costumes that could almost be picked from real life. But it’s that almost that makes the costumes so very nice to look at and evoke the occasional chuckle or two.
Silvia: I would have chosen Maleficent. The costume were amazing in my eyes. I especially loved Maleficent’s wings. But okay.
Best Film Editing: Whiplash
Dom: Absolutely. Whiplash manages to tell a story about jazz music, a teacher and a student in a way that puts most big budget blockbusters where the wold explodes in every other shot to shame. It’s intense, it’s creative and it creates a coherent and memorable picture. I also like how sometimes, the music is in sync with the cuts in the movie.
Silvia: I will have to see it first. I probably would have gone with Boyhood here because they did a great job putting twelve years of footage together in this one final piece.
Best Visual Effects: Interstellar
Dom: I have a fundamental problem with this category. Basically, I think that practical effects get shafted in favour of CGI, which is so super advanced that there’s literally nothing that can’t be done these days. Of course, practical effects will look somewhat outdated and low-tech, because that’s kind of what they are. However, if you look at the craftsmanship involved in practical effects, it is still an Oscar worthy craft. It just can’t compare to CGI. That said, Interstellar deserved this one just because they had practical effects, as opposed to Captain America: The Winter Soldier that also looked phenomenal but was a CGI fest. I really wish the Academy would make two categories: Best Visual Effects – CGI and Best Visual Effects – Practical.
Silvia: Oh, I couldn’t agree more here, there definitely should be a difference. No, can’t say more right now. Interstellar wasn’t a surprise.