The Oscar nominations for this year are out. As usual it contains some astute choices, some really bad ones and some that are just truly bizarre. The pale, male and stale voters of the Academy retain a strong preference for a particular kind of film. The nominations have as always gone disproportionately to English language dramas at the more worthy end of the mainstream with actors and directors the academy is familiar with which go on general release in the United States. Now as plenty of excellent films match that description the list is reasonable. It is, however, generally pretty uninspiring and rather predictable.
Here’s what I’d highlight about this list:
- Birdman and the Grand Budapest Hotel as the joint leaders of the pack with 9 nominations each. These are odder films than the Academy generally goes for.
- Marrion Coltiard has against expectations been nominated for Best Actress for her transfixing performance in Two Days, One Night.
- Patricia Arquette has been nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her part in I’ve not , to my shame, actually seen Boyhood but the fact that the Golden Globe winner is in this category rather than Best Actress will mean Coltiard’s more likely to win that one though she’s still an outsider. If you are getting the impression I really think Marrion Coltiard deserves to win you would be right!
- The Academy redid its rules on Best Picture nominations after what was generally accepted to be the strange decision not to nominate the Dark Knight. Rather than making this relatively dramatic change, the Academy could just have given Nolan some recognition. Yet despite Interstellar being Nolan’s best film since the Dark Knight, its (richly deserved) nominations are all in technical categories. Not quite sure what he’s going to have to do win one or indeed even get nominated.
- No nominations for Andy Serkis or Toby Kebbel for their performances in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Apparently great performances don’t count if they’re delivered while wearing motion capture suits.
- Nothing for the sound on Godzilla.
- Nothing for Two Days, One Night apart from Coltiard’s nomination.
- Does Meryl Streep really deserve a nomination for Into the Woods? I’ve not seen it so I don’t know but nothing I’ve seen or heard about the film suggests Streep’s performance was one of the five best performances by a woman in a supporting role. This just feels like Academy voters plumping for one of their favourites because that’s what they do.
- No Best Animated Feature nomination for the Lego Movie!!!
- That these nominations are even more white and male than usual.
- The total exclusion of Snowpiercer from being nominated for anything. This stings because not only was it my favourite film of the year but it was backed by distributed in the US by Weinstein Company, whose titular head is notorious for his ruthless efficiency at winning Oscars. However, Weinstein is largely responsible for keeping it from a general release in the US because he wanted 20 minutes of unnecessary cuts. That’s a shame because it ought to be a contender for Best: picture, director, adapted screenplay, cinematography, editing and best supporting actress for Tilda Swinton.
- The fact the only category in which I’ve seen all the films is best visual effects!
I realise that I hadn’t mentioned that Jake Gyllenhall didn’t get nominated for his spectacularly creepy performance in Nightcrawler.