Let me first say that this is a year that a blockbuster should have been nominated for best picture. “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Interstellar,” “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” and “The Lego Movie” were all worthy of a nomination. With only eight of the 10 possible spots filled, the Academy could have thrown in two of these. Hopefully, the voters will eventually realize that these films have a high quality to them as well. Anyway, to the nominees!
Bradley Cooper put together another Oscar nominated performance as Clint Eastwood returns to the Academy Awards with this solid modern war film that became a surprise hit at the box office.
Incredibly directed and phenomenally acted, “Birdman” has a real shot at taking home the best picture crown.
An interesting experiment that actually worked, “Boyhood” is a frontrunner for best picture based on its successful gimmick.
The Grand Budapest Hotel
This film accomplished what it set out to do with brilliant acting and succinct direction.
The Imitation Game
Emotional and powerful, “The Imitation Game” resonated with me more than any other film this year.
David Oyelowo should have been nominated for best actor for his powerful portrayal of Martin Luther King Jr.
The Theory of Everything
This movie is led by a great performance from both the leading actor and actress who powered this film to a best picture nomination.
“Whiplash” is awesome with Miles Teller and the best supporting actor lock J.K. Simmons going toe-to-toe until its amazing climax.
“American Sniper” is a solid film, but it’s no “Zero Dark Thirty,” which was also nominated for best picture back in 2012. As good as it was, “Zero Dark Thirty” didn’t win and neither will “American Sniper.” So it’s out.
“The Theory of Everything” is a very good movie with great performances, but there is a more interesting story to be told here about Stephen Hawking’s life. This was not it. So it’s out.
“Selma” is a powerful film that is well acted and very interesting. But I feel like the performance of David Oyelowo stood out more than the movie itself. So it’s out.
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” was an all-around very well done film. However, it didn’t resonate with me. I wasn’t immersed in the movie. It was too cartoonish to connect with, and I believe that is a quality a best picture winner should have. So it’s out.
“Boyhood” is a great cinematic experiment that succeeds, and Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke are phenomenal. However, its script is too repetitive, and the film doesn’t have a plot. A best picture winner should have a plot. A beginning, middle and end. This movie’s claim to fame is its filming over 12 years and showing a boy growing up. This is actually a scripted boy growing up without any sort of plot. I have a problem with that. So it’s out.
“Birdman” is spectacular in just about every way, but the plot is so convoluted. When I talked to my mom about it, she came up with the perfect word, “undefined.” That is the description of this film. It was unnecessarily abstract, and it took away from the remarkableness of the movie. I left the movie thinking ‘so what the hell was going on?’ instead of focusing on its positives. So it’s out.
“Whiplash” was one of my favorite movies of the year. It was phenomenal with the absolute best ending of 2014. Like I said, J.K. Simmons is a lock for best supporting actor, but Miles Teller’s performance should not be overlooked. I would love to see this win best picture, but I think it’s a long shot. Although I loved it, I have to admit that this is similar to a sports film and really rides on its performances. It’s not the greatest and most original story. So it’s out.
WINNER: The Imitation Game
“The Imitation Game” was amazing from top to bottom. The story was emotionally powerful and perfectly timely. It resonated so much with me. I usually don’t say that a movie is important to see, but this is arguably the most important film of the year that helps define the 2014 movie season. Its resonating theme and message is that if we reject people who are different we could prevent brilliant minds from making amazing contributions to society. That is still relevant today and even more so because the main character is gay. The gay community still continues to fight for the right to marry in all 50 states, but had a big breakthrough in 2014.
The acting was amazing, led by Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley. Their scene together toward the end of the film felt so real, and it was remarkable. It also had great direction and a great screenplay. I liked how you slowly learned more and more about Cumberbatch’s real life character, Alan Turing. It also had an incredible score.
It was easily the most well-rounded film this year and deserves Oscar glory. Congratulations cast and crew…the Oscar for Best Picture goes to “The Imitation Game.”
Winner: “The Imitation Game”
Dark Horse: “Whiplash”