The biggest night in film; the Oscars is a huge event for film-makers, film-goers and the general public alike. Whilst the importance of the awards can be debated (why should we just accept what we’re told are the best films of the last year?), its influence is indisputable, with a guaranteed surge in interest, and sales, for whichever films should take home the most golden statuettes. This year, I have to say that I wasn’t thrilled with the majority of the nominations, with American Sniper getting so many, whilst the tremendous Selma was all but ignored. It’s a ceremony that is steeped in politics, but hey, that’s another article altogether. Despite all my frustrations with the academy, it is still impossible not to get swept up in all the movie discussion the ceremony creates, so without further ado, let’s take a look at this years winners and losers.
In an interesting turn of events, the exact same group of performers who won at the BAFTAS, all won Oscars. Eddie Redmayne once again won the best actor award for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everthing, which while totally deserved, surprises me. I thought it was Michael Keaton’s night in this category, not only because of all the love showered upon Birdman, but because America loves a comeback story too. Birdman had a great night in terms of awards, but not in terms of its performances. J.K Simmons once again picked won best supporting actor for Whiplash, which I hold a great deal of love for, so I was happy that he was once again acknowledged for his role, beating strong competition from Ed Norton and Mark Ruffalo.
Julianne Moore won best actress for Still Alice, which us Brits still have to wait to see for another week. Without seeing the film, it is difficult to comment on her win, other to say that Moore is usually terrific in everything she’s in, and that Still Alice will have a lot to live up to, when I finally get to see it. Finally, supporting actress in a leading role went to Patricia Arquette for Boyhood, my favourite film in this years nominations. Nominated with Meryl Streep for Into the Woods, Emma Stone for Birdman and Keira Knightley for The Imitation Game; I think Arquette was a clear winner in her category, so I’m pleased in this respect too.
Now, this is where things start to get a little different. Whereas, BAFTA and the Academy seemed in agreement as far as performances went, they couldn’t have disagreed more in terms of the films that won. Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotetook home an equal amount of awards, with four wins each in total; but it was Birdman that arguably won the most important awards; best director and best film. This is the result that has caused the most controversy of the night, in that it means Boyhood, Richard Linklater’s 12 year masterpiece, took just the one award for best supporting actress.
It’s a result I was expecting in truth, at least as far as best director was concerned. Not only does the Academy have a history with Birdman director, Alejandro G. Inarritu, but Birdman itself is remarkable cinematic achievement in terms of technicality. That said, I still had hoped that Linklater would win best director, due to the amount of patience and creative artistry that went into the making of Boyhood. I do think it is the much better film and a future classic, whilst I don’t think people will be talking about Birdman as much in the future. It was a disappointing night for me in this respect, to say the least.
In other categories, Big Hero 6 won best animated feature, proving once again that Disney are on the up. I would have liked to have seen How To Train Your Dragon 2 win, but can’t say I’m too cut up by the result. Poland’s foreign language entry, Ida, picked up an award in its category, which I still have yet to watch, so can’t really comment on its win; whilst Edward Snowden documentary, CITIZENFOUR (coincidentally on channel 4 in the UK, on Wednesday night) won in its category. Other films I was pleased to see pick up awards, were Whiplash for its editing and sound mixing; as well as Interstellar, which won for its glorious visual effects.
As much as I was in solid agreement with this years BAFTA winners, the Oscars have proving a mixed bag for me, as usual. I agree with some, but not all of the winners, and I think that the snub of Boyhood in the two biggest categories, is unforgivable. That said, it goes back to my original point; does any of it really matter? For all the awards that a film can win, it’s time that is the true definer of great films and I think in this case, Boyhood is the clear winner.
So now award season is all over with, are you happy with the winners? Who were your favourites and who do you think was snubbed? Feel free to leave your comments below!