It’s almost Hollywood’s biggest night. Get ready movies buffs because on Feb. 22, the 87th Academy Awards will be broadcast live on ABC. This year, the amusing Neil Patrick Harris will make his debut as the host of the awards show, being held in Los Angeles at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. But awards shows are not without their controversies.
This year more than others, it seems there are a few too many snubs across the categories. Tradition has it that if you win a Golden Globe, you are a shoe in for winning an Oscar. However, Amy Adams, who gave a brilliant performance in Big Eyes, and won the Golden Globe, didn’t even earn a nomination for an Oscar. Angelina Jolie, who directed the extraordinary Unbroken, was slighted along with Selma director, Ava DuVernay. Some are crying sexism while others are saying lack of diversity. Best Actress Nominee Marion Cotillard came out of nowhere to earn her nomination. Clint Eastwood was conspicuously missing from the best director category for American Sniper. While those actors and directors were snubbed, the following did receive nods:
American Sniper Directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller, this movie is based on the true story of the most lethal sniper in history, Chris Kyle. He was a rodeo rider turned Navy Seal as he believed wholeheartedly on protecting the United States. Kyle was commissioned three times to Iraq, solely to protect his fellow comrades—and never really mentally let go of what he experienced there. The movie also delves into his relationship with his wife and young children. Tragically, he was murdered at a gun range in 2013 while tying to help a young veteran who claimed he was suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Bradley Cooper is up for Best Actor and he deserves it. I personally think this is one of his best dramatic roles.
Birdman Directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and starring Michael Keaton, Edward Norton and Emma Stone, this movie is about a has-been actor who, in his glory days, played an iconic superhero. Since that ended, he’s been striving to keep his family together and restart his career. Birdman shows his struggles to do this. It’s simultaneously dramatic and funny. The three actors all secured nominations. A new and improved Zach Galifankis also stars and earned a nod at the Golden Globes. This is Keaton’s finest work in a long time.
The Imitation Game Directed by Morten Tulum and starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, this film is based on the true story of Alan Turing, who helped decipher the Enigma code during World War II. The movie also explores Turing’s sexuality. As a result of his being homosexual, he was imprisoned and slated to die. Not thinking that perhaps he could be acquitted, he laced an apple with cyanide, consumed it and died. Cumberbatch and Knightley are up for awards.
Selma Directed by Ava DuVernay and starring David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tom Wilkinson, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Oprah Winfrey, this biopic illustrates the factual movement of Selma during a span of three months in 1965. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., led a daring campaign to make sure that all people regardless of their color, had equal voting rights. Regrettably, his adversaries fought him with violence. The march from Selma to Montgomery, AL, ensued with then President Johnson signing The Voting Rights Act of 1965. The movie was shut out of the Academy Awards for the most part, angering some.
Boyhood Directed by Richard Linklater and starring Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke and Ellar Coltrane, this film follows the life of a young man, Mason, from age 5 to 18. The project spanned more than 10 years and some believed it would never be seen. You can actually see the aging progression of Patricia Arquette in the movie. Ethan Hawke and Arquette have both merited nominations.
The Theory of Everything Directed by James Marsh and starring Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, this biopic is based on the story of physicist Stephen Hawking and his relationship with his wife, Jane, as well as his intellect and aptitude to thrive against the odds once he was diagnosed with a motor-neuron disease. This movie has already garnished many awards, including Golden Globes for both actors, and now they have also achieved recognition for a shot at the Oscar.
Whiplash Directed by Damien Chazelle and starring Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, Melissa Benoist and Paul Reiser, the story follows a gifted young drummer in his mission to become one of the best musicians. He is accepted into a competitive music program where he is mentored by a teacher who stops at nothing to bring out a student’s potential. This is an extraordinary film and Simmons is outstanding. He previously won a Golden Globe for his performance and is nominated for best supporting actor.
The Grand Budapest Hotel Directed by Wes Anderson and starring Ralph Fiennes and F. Murray Abraham, the picture is about the escapades of Gustave H., a concierge at a famous hotel from the fictitious Republic of Zubrawka, between World War I and World War II. The movie demonstrates Gustave’s true camaraderie, which he develops with a young lobby boy. Anderson gets a nomination for best director. The movie is heartwarming and funny—a must see.
So grab some popcorn, soda or wine and an assemblage of friends, while you sit back, unwind and watch your favorite actors and actresses win or lose. Enjoy the fashion hits and misses, which are virtually as electrifying as the awards show itself.