No Surprise: The Nominees For ‘Best Picture’ are Ridiculous

oscars 2015 best picture

The nominees for Best Picture aren’t very surprising, save for Gone Girl getting snubbed in favor of noticeably weaker films. But first, here they are:

  • American Sniper
  • Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
  • Boyhood
  • The Imitation Game
  • Selma
  • The Theory of Everything
  • Whiplash
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel  

One of the trends you’ll notice on this list is that it’s very biopic heavy. Four of them are direct biopics, while another two are indirectly centered around the actor being the movie’s gimmick (Birdman and Boyhood). Only two of these movies are just that: Movies.

These are all great films. The only one of these I didn’t enjoy was Birdman, mostly because it’s such an uneven film made that way because it wants awards.

The only thing about it that worked for me was Edward Norton, but everything else felt so condescending toward nothing. It was just two hours of people screaming at each other for no reason but to vent out frustrations I couldn’t care about.

I sort of understand the appeal of stories that make no sense. But for me, narrative has to have cohesion, or else I’m not going to appreciate the movie as a whole. So for that reason, I’m not on the Birdman bandwagon.

Whiplash is still my favorite film of the year, and I’m also excited to see Selma and Boyhood getting their due. But Imitation Game and American Sniper beating out Gone Girl and Wild seems like a huge “We hate Ben Affleck and Reese Witherspoon” message from the Academy, even though Rosamund Pike and Witherspoon got the obligatory Best Actress nods.

And no, Interstellar doesn’t deserve to be on this list, but I feel terrible for Matthew McConaughey’s snub for best actor.

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25 Replies to “No Surprise: The Nominees For ‘Best Picture’ are Ridiculous”

  1. I’m glad someone else doesn’t like Birdman because I was starting to wonder why I was the only one who didn’t like it out of my friends. Like you, I just thought the whole thing was so much up its own ass.

  2. I’m feeling a disappointed in the absence of Jake Gyllenhaal. I’m also left torn in the supporting actor category. Ethan Hawke really impressed me but Ed Norton and JK Simmons? I don’t know who to support!

    • Agreed. Nightcrawler was such a fantastic movie. I wasn’t surprised it missed Best Picture, but the Best Actor snub is almost criminal.

      • Totally agree, Jon. I havent seen American Sniper yet but Bradley Cooper again? Really? Thats three years in row he’s been nominated and Cooper isn’t the type that deserves such an accolade.

        • He was great in American Sniper. It’s probably the best role of his career. But Nightcrawler is one of Jake’s best roles ever, and he’s been in way more good movies. I would have nominated Jake instead of Michael Keaton, to be honest.

          • Seriously? I normally hate Michael Keaton. I’ve never been a fan but I thought he great in Birdman.

            • I liked him in one scene, and that was with the critic in the bar. Everything else seemed “okay,” but I wasn’t swept by the movie. I’m not sure why because I normally love Keaton, especially in his Batman movies.

  3. I’m surprised you didn’t mention LEGO movie getting snubbed for Best Animated movie.

    • That’s because I wasn’t surprised the Academy didn’t like a movie based on toys that isn’t made by Pixar. Even though it was a huge hit with audiences and critics.

      • Still though, it was such a cool movie and it got beat out by some song of the sea crap

  4. I don’t get why Gone Girl only got the best actress nomination (which it totally deserved by the way), it should have been nominated for best film. I haven’t seen Still Alice but I can figure why it’s on there, it looks amazing. Oh and I’m so shocked by Steve Carell’s transformation. But reading the nominations, I felt kind of bored because it was always the same moviesthat really did not attract me.

    • I totally understand. Whiplash is the movie on this list, though, that I think everyone should try to see, even if you’re not normally into Oscar-bait.

  5. I’m not so satisfied with The Best Actress in a leading role nominees… Amy Adams did a pretty good job in ‘Big Eyes’ and she should have been nominated over Rosamund Pike for ‘Gone Girl’ (she wasn’t bad but also wasn’t that good..) it seems like the academy didn’t want to leave fincher’s ‘Gone Girl’ out so they gave Pike a nomination…

    About the Best Actor in a leading role, I can’t evaluate Matthew Mcconaughey’s performance in Interstellar because I have not seen the film yet. But there were some amazing performances of male actors at this year (Benedict Cumberbatch in ‘The Imitation Game’, Eddie Redmayne in ‘The Theory of Everything׳, Michael Keaton in ‘Birdman’ and many more…) so it’s fair enough…

  6. It’s disappointing to me that you didn’t like BIRDMAN. It’s my favorite film of 2014 because the story and the technical execution complemented each other so well and the themes speak volumes on today’s entertainment industry. The casting of Dark Knight Michael Keaton only adds to the meta-ness of the film and its messages.

    Btw, it was made to look like one take to play into the theme of theatre actors vs. cinema actors and how theatre actors have to do it all in one take while cinema actors can have multiple takes to get their performances right. No other film I can remember has used that technique to such great narrative effect other than portray the story in real-time.

    If you asked me, it’s the conventional biopics that are the Oscar bait, not BIRDMAN. BIRDMAN is an energetic, artsy, and entertaining cinematic force of nature, as is WHIPLASH. But I guess that those who don’t realize that live by the unexpected virtue of ignorance.

    • Look, I get why people like Birdman. They like it for the same reason I wanted to like it when I sat down and watched it. I wanted to see a Michael Keaton movie that’s self-aware about the vapid nature of Hollywood cut in with zany, supernatural cutscenes.

      The problem is that the movie promises all of that, but doesn’t really execute (in my opinion). But no one realizes that because they’re distracted by the sparks of great acting and experimental camerawork, which I’ll admit saves the movie.

  7. You forgot to mention Selma’s snub in the post.
    Also, how do you think you are OK Interstellar getting snubbed, but not its actor?

  8. The snub that bothered me most was Inherent Vice. For me it was easily the best picture of 2014, with the only serious rival being Grand Budapest Hotel. I guess it’s not surprising given how surreal and polarizing Inherent Vice is, but Joaquin was undeniably great. If anything he should have got a Best Actor nod. At least it was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay. I feel like the screenplay awards are the only ones with any legitimacy.

    • I haven’t seen Inherent Vice, but the trailer makes it look like a can’t-miss.

  9. Of course you didnt like Birdman, it insults destruction-porn driven superhero movies that you love

    • I don’t dislike things for taking jabs at other things I like. If that was the case, I’d hate the first Scary Movie and Scream.

      No, I dislike Birdman for reasons I’ve already covered in this article and the comments.

      Also, why do people insist on adding “porn” as a suffix to things they want to criticize? Seems like a weird writing technique.

      • I add it coz I’m not a very good writer haha

  10. I loved Birdman and really disliked American Sniper,b ut that’s the only one I think doesn’t belong on the list.

    • I’m not surprised. American Sniper is definitely polarizing. Personally, I was really moved by it, and the action scenes are really well-done and tough to watch (in a good way).

  11. The biggest snub for me was Jake Gyllenhall for best actor… It was like he transformed into a whole different person, and I think it was the best performance in his career. This infuriates me more then all the times that Leonardo Dicaprio got nominated for an Oscar and didn’t win.

    But maybe I shouldn’t be surprised; The Academy is pretty much a political gathering made up of people in Hollywood congratulating their Hollywood friends. It’s just sickening!

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