2015 Academy Award Winners & Round-Up

It is easy, as a member of an unofficial community of online film lovers, to forget that the majority of America and some parts of the rest of the world tune into the Oscars in order to see some of the most famous movie stars on the planet act like normal people and reward themselves or better yet, recognize the best of what they had to offer, from the previous year in the art of motion pictures. I anxiously awaited this years ceremony though as there were some interesting match-ups and undetermined winners as well as Neil Patrick Harris hosting the occasion. NPH started out strong with the expected musical number featuring guest spots by the ever game Anna Kendrick and Jack Black, but his hosting duties quickly fell into that of reading obvious and ill-timed jokes off cue cards and going on about a lockbox that didn't amount to much of a punch line. There were no selfie or pizza moments to be had this year and the energy of the festivities suffered greatly for it. With little energy to feed off and the understanding that the Academy Awards have come to mean little more than a game of politics and/or who has the best backers promoting their films the only real thing to look forward to were the possibilities of upsets and the eventual crowing of either Birdman or Boyhood as the big winner of the year. There were a few surprises, a few nice speeches, some solid musical performances and one or two NPH jokes that actually landed (I genuinely laughed at the Travolta one) while Travolta was again prone to creeping us all out (get your hand off her face, bro!). I'll go through my predictions and what I guessed right and wrong, where I wished I would have been wrong, why I was happy to be wrong a few times as well as go through the full list of the winners after the jump.

In the major categories all of the choices were fairly obvious sans how the Best Picture and Best Director wins would shake out. Given the fact both Boyhood and Birdman had been neck and neck for months I thought for sure we were in for another split in the two categories as the last two years had given us the same scenario. I imagined the Academy awarding Birdman with the biggest award of the night given it's content and nature of the discussion it intends to start while giving the Director statue to Richard Linklater for daring to put together a film over the course of twelve years and pulling it off. In the end, both awards ended up going to Birdman which I didn't mind, but I would have much rather seen Birdman get it's two biggest awards of the night in the Picture and Actor categories while giving Boyhood its due as well. Instead, beating out Michael Keaton in the Best Actor race was Eddie Redmayne for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. While I wasn't really a fan of the biopic and I would have loved to see Keaton take home the win it was pretty clear Redmayne's turn as the genius who suffered from a life-threatening disease and survived against all odds would take home the statue, especially after his Golden Globe and BAFTA wins. I picked Redmayne in a change at the last second, but I wish I could have stuck with Keaton and been correct.

Some of the best moments of the night came from the musical performances. Below are John Legend and Common performing their Oscar-winning song "Glory" from Selma...
 
...and Lonely Island with Tegan and Sara performing "Everything is Awesome," from the Oscar-snubbed The LEGO Movie.

In the categories where I was wrong and happy to be wrong it mostly came down to the fact Whiplash received more awards than anyone thought it would. J.K. Simmons for Best Supporting Actor was an undisputed winner and no expected any different, but I had Grand Budapest Hotel picking up more technical wins in the Editing category and American Sniper grabbing its one seemingly necessary statue in Sound Mixing category while Whiplash took both, and deservedly so. Sniper still snagged one for Sound Editing and Grand Budapest actually tied with Birdman for the most wins last night so no harm, no foul. The one major surprise, at least to me, of the night was seeing Big Hero 6 win over How to Train Your Dragon 2. While the Dreamworks sequel certainly didn't make the money everyone thought it would it was still the best of the crop in the Animated category that I'd seen. I haven't caught Song of the Sea or Princess Kaguya, but let's be honest, they didn't really have a chance. I enjoyed Big Hero 6 for what it was and am happy to see Disney Animation no longer solely relying on Pixar for hits and quality, but I still think HTTYD2 was the better film and deserved the win even if The LEGO Movie had been nominated.

As for the ceremony itself there were some other fine moments including Lady Gaga's gorgeous, but unnecessary tribute to The Sound of Music and Julie Andrews. It was nice to see, but was the one thing that could have really been cut for time given they took things so slow at the beginning and rushed through the last few major awards. Graham Moore had a moving speech for his Adapted Screenplay win for The Imitation Game and Patricia Arquette was able to get Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez on their feet with her Best Supporting Actress speech that included a petition for women to have equal wage right in the U.S. I guess if you have the platform, get your point or your mission across, but I hate when this gets misconstrued or taken advantage of. For instance, when it came to the final award of the night and presenter Sean Penn made a comment about a green card because Birdman director Alejandro González Iñárritu is from Mexico it became heavily viewed as insesitive on Twitter and other social media outlets as viewers expressed their frustration, but if any of the people watching this awards show for films knew anything of the cinematic history between these two men they'd know they worked together twelve years ago, likely remained friends since and have a relationship where jokes such as this can be made. Not the best time to make an immigration joke? Probably not, but Iñárritu has already dismissed it as a "joke" made by an old friend that he found "hilarious," so calm down people.


I was happy to see Selma win an Oscar for Best Original Song and know that in some fashion the Academy recognized this great film as it was my favorite film of 2014, but the acceptance speech by John Legend gave me a bad impression. I've re-watched the acceptance speech to make sure I didn't mishear or misread the circumstances (and Common, as always, was especially eloquent in his message), but how Legend can pull a statistic like there being more black men under correctional control than there were under slavery in 1850 feels like something that would work against their cause rather than for it. I realize they are talking about how the white man puts African-Americans there because the white man is still in power and I'm sure that accounts for a percentage of the incarcerated, but there is a level of self-accountability here as well that seems to be ignored. We are all individuals and are hopefully each dealt the respect we deserve based on our actions. I'd be interested to know what the statistics are for the percentage of white police officers and black police officers in America because, as Common said, the spirit of the Edmund Pettis Bridge and what it stands for now is a symbol of change and a large change that has taken place in this country. I'm not one to deny racism still exists or that the events of Ferguson might not be cause for concern from the black community, but to go to extremes on any subject, topic or set of circumstances is risky as there are no doubt countless unconsidered factors within. We cannot live harmoniously by continuing to blame one another, but in order for the symbol that bridge now stands for to really mean something we must be the most humble and respectable versions of ourselves. I don't mean to go on, but Legend (who is typically well spoken and very perceptive of culture in general) really rubbed me the wrong way and I think it is something that should be heavily discussed before stats start being thrown around for the masses to interpret as they like. The person is smart, people are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and we all know it. I've embedded the speech above and would appreciate more thoughts on the subject.

That's it for this years round-up. What were your thoughts on the show at large? Entertained? Bored to tears? Let me know in the comments section and check out the full list of winners (highlighted in Orange) below.

BEST PICTURE

  • American Sniper
  • Birdman
  • Boyhood
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Selma
  • The Theory of Everything
  • Whiplash

BEST DIRECTOR

  • Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman)
  • Richard Linklater (Boyhood)
  • Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game)
  • Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
  • Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher)

BEST ACTOR

  • Steve Carell (Foxcatcher)
  • Bradley Cooper (American Sniper)
  • Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game)
  • Michael Keaton (Birdman)
  • Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)

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)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Robert Duvall (The Judge)
  • Ethan Hawke (Boyhood)
  • Edward Norton (Birdman)
  • Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher)
  • J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
  • Laura Dern (Wild)
  • Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game)
  • Emma Stone (Birdman)
  • Meryl Streep (Into the Woods)

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  • Jason Dean Hall (American Sniper)
  • Graham Moore (The Imitation Game)
  • Paul Thomas Anderson (Inherent Vice)
  • Anthony McCarten (The Theory of Everything)
  • Damien Chazelle (Whiplash)

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armando Bo (Birdman)
  • Richard Linklater (Boyhood)
  • E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman (Foxcatcher)
  • Wes Anderson, Hugo Guinness (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
  • Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler)

ANIMATED FILM

  • Big Hero 6
  • The BoxTrolls
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2
  • Song of the Sea
  • The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

DOCUMENTARY (FEATURE)

  • CitizenFour
  • Finding Vivian Maier
  • Last Days in Vietnam
  • The Salt of the Earth
  • Virunga

EDITING

  • Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach (American Sniper)
  • Sandra Adair (Boyhood)
  • Barney Pilling (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
  • William Goldenberg (The Imitation Game)
  • Tom Cross (Whiplash)

CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • Emmanuel Lubezki (Birdman)
  • Robert D. Yeoman (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
  • Ryszard Lenczewski and Lukasz Zal (Ida)
  • Dick Pope (Mr. Turner)
  • Roger Deakins (Unbroken)

ORIGINAL SCORE

  • Alexandre Desplat (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
  • Alexandre Desplat (The Imitation Game)
  • Hans Zimmer (Interstellar)
  • Johann Johannsson (The Theory of Everything)
  • Gary Yershon (Mr. Turner)

ORIGINAL SONG

  • "Lost Stars" from Begin Again
  • "I'm Not Gonna Miss You" from Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me
  • "Everything is Awesome" from The Lego Movie
  • "Glory" from Selma
  • "Grateful" from Beyond the Lights

SOUND MIXING

  • American Sniper
  • Birdman
  • Interstellar
  • Unbroken
  • Whiplash

SOUND EDITING

  • American Sniper
  • Birdman
  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
  • Interstellar
  • Unbroken

VISUAL EFFECTS

  • Captain America: The winter Soldier
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Interstellar
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past

COSTUME DESIGN

  • Milena Canonero (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
  • Mark Bridges (Inherent Vice)
  • Colleen Atwood (Into the Woods)
  • Anna B. Sheppard (Maleficent)
  • Jacqueline Durran (Mr. Turner)

PRODUCTION DESIGN

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Interstellar
  • Into the Woods
  • Mr. Turner

MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING

  • Foxcatcher
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Guardians of the Galaxy

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

  • Tangerines
  • Ida
  • Leviathan
  • Timbuktu
  • Wild Tales

ANIMATED SHORT FILM

  • The Bigger Picture
  • The Dam Keper
  • Feast
  • Me and My Moulton
  • A Single Life

LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM

  • Aya
  • Boogaloo and Graham
  • Butterfly Lamp (La Lampe au Beurre de Yak)
  • Parvaneh
  • The Phone Call

DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT)

  • Crisis Veterans Hotline: Press 1
  • Joanna
  • Our Curse
  • The Reaper (La Parka)
  • White Earth