My 2014 Oscar Predictions

Many tiny, tiny men were forced to give up their lives after being randomly selected for being made to stand in an uncomfortable upright position and having liquid gold poured on them. Their sacrifice will not go forgotten.

Ah, the Oscars! The award show where the old, rich, out-of-touch white men of Hollywood engage in the biggest circle jerk of the year and hand out golden, vaguely phallic trophies in order to congratulate each other for making pretentious, artsy films that the average moviegoer didn’t even think about before the eve of the ceremony!

God, do I love the Oscars. It’s right up there with my birthday, Christmas, Blue Jays Opening Day, Game 7 of the World Series and Edmonton Comic Expo Weekend in my rankings of my favourite days of the year. For somebody who loves movies as much as I do, it’s so great to see these movies that I’ve grown so attached to in the last few months that I’ve been scrambling to watch them. It’s nice to see them all gathered together where all of them can be celebrated for the joy they’ve brought to people.

And by “all of them”, I, of course mean “Boyhood“.

So, without further ado, let’s get my official predictions out of the way!!!

(Keep in mind that I haven’t seen 100% of the movies. Merely a lot of them. Don’t blame me, blame school.”

That, and the fact that I’m not allowed out of my house anymore after the unfortunate incident at a nearby Dairy Queen.

Visual Effects

Hey, hey, we’re the Monkees! And people say we monkey around…”

Winner: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

If I were in charge: Interstellar

Interstellar didn’t impress me as much as it did others in terms of story or plot coherence, but I can’t deny the visual majesty that Nolan’s space epic had. That said, when Dawn wins, I will not complain at all, because Apes On Horses.

Film Editing

TWELVE YEARS!!!! THIS TOOK TWELVE YEARS!!!! ITSOAMAAAAAAAAZZIIIINGGG!!!!!!!”

Will win: Boyhood

If I was in charge: Boyhood

Yeah, as burnt out as I am on hearing people call Boyhood the Citizen Kane of our era or some bullshit, I can’t deny the wonderful editing job done in the film.

Costume Design

Dear lord.

Will win: The Grand Budapest Hotel

If I was in charge: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Makeup and Hairstyling

And this is what happens when you party with Benecio del Toro.

Will win: Guardians of the Galaxy

If I was in charge: Guardians of the Galaxy

Cinematography

Gravity‘s got nothing on this.

Will win: Birdman

If I was in charge: Birdman

Emmanuel Lubezki. That is all.

Production Design

The symmetry alone, Jesus Christ.

Will win: The Grand Budapest Hotel

If I was in charge: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Sound Mixing

Theeeeenn, he swore profusely at me, Pa rum pa pum pum….

Will win: Whiplash

If I was in charge: Whiplash

Man, I’m not exactly being much of a contrarian, am I?

Sound Editing

Oh, there we go.

Will win: American Sniper

If I was in charge: Birdman

Original Song

Will win: “Glory” (Selma)

If I was in charge: “Glory”

Original Score

Just for the record, I would have given the prize to either John Powell or Joe Hisaishi for How to Train Your Dragon 2 and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, respectively.

Will win: Jóhann Jóhannsson, The Theory of Everything

If I was in charge: Alexandre Desplat, The Imitation Game

Animated Short Film, Live Action Short Film, Documentary- Short Subject, Documentary- Feature

I didn’t watch any of these. Why? I’m really, really lazy, in case you guys haven’t noticed.

Foreign Language Film

Are her eyes following anybody else? Just me? Okay then…

Will win: Ida

If I was in charge: Leviathan

Animated Feature Film

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!

Will win: How to Train Your Dragon 2

If I was in charge: How to Train Your Dragon 2

While I still think that Dragon is the best animated movie of the year (Yes, even better than The LEGO Movie), I highly suggest any fan of animation to check out The Tale of the Princess Kaguya. You’ll thank me later, trust me.

Adapted Screenplay

Will win: The Imitation Game

If I was in charge: The Imitation Game

Original Screenplay

Will win: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Should win: Birdman

Supporting Actress

Yeesh, now that kids’ eyes are following me.

Will win: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

If I was in charge: Patricia Arquette

Again, I’m not a huge Boyhood fan. That said, I think I would’ve liked it more if it focused more on Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke.

Supporting Actor

Will win: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

If I was in charge: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Actress

“What the fuck am I watching?!?!”                    -Julianne Moore, seen here puzzling over Inherent Vice.

Will win: Julianne Moore, Still Alice

If I was in charge: Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl

Admittedly, I haven’t seen Still Alice yet, but with all do respect to Julianne Moore, I don’t see how her performance could be better than Rosamund Pike in the movie that is the biggest Best Picture snub of the year.

Actor

Yeah, no way I’m joking about this photo. I’m not a total asshole.

Will win: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

If I was in charge: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

The sentimental part of my brain wants Michael Keaton to win, as Redmayne’s still young, and we don’t know if Keaton will ever be nominated again, but I know in my heart of hearts that Redmayne was probably better.

Director

Meh.

Will win: Richard Linklater, Boyhood

If I was in charge: Alejandro G. Inarritu, Birdman

I LIKED BOYHOOD, ALRIGHT!?!? I JUST THINK IT’S KIND OF OVERRATED!!! AM I REALLY SO WRONG IN THINKING THAT?!?!

Picture

You know you want it.

Will win: Birdman

If I was in charge: Birdman

My gut actually says that Boyhood is gonna take it, but winning all the Guild Awards is pretty promising, so maybe Birdman has a realistic shot at winning the big prize?

American Sniper is going to sweep the awards now, just because I said that.

Interstellar (Movie Review)

I can now believe that this movie was filmed here in Alberta.

Christopher Nolan is brilliant. Let’s make that abundantly clear. This review is not meant as a middle finger to the man who made Batman cool again. That said, the combination of pulse-pounding suspense with intellectualism that seemed to be so easily achieved in The Dark KnightInception and Memento is not exactly a given in Nolan movies, apparently.

Mmmm… I can already smell the fanboy hatred brewing.

   Interstellar

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Produced by: Emma Thomas, Christopher Nolan, Lynda Obst

Written by: Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan

Based (In part) upon: Kip Thorne’s theories

Genres: Science-fiction, adventure, drama

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael    Caine, Ellen Burstyn, David Gyasi, Wes Bentley, Mackenzie Foy, Casey Affleck, John Lithgow, Topher Grace, Timothée Chalamet, Matt Damon

Voices of: Bill Irwin, Josh Stewart

Music by: Hans Zimmer

Plot:  As is the case in seemingly every high-concept science fiction movie, it is the near future and the Earth is, slowly but surely, dying out. Due to unspecified issues, the planet is ravaged by dust storms, and the entire planet has reverted to an agrarian society. One of the many farmers whose plots of land litter the devastated American landscape (Which brings to mind the Dust Bowl) belongs to Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a former engineer and NASA pilot who lives with his father-in-law (John Lithgow), his son Tom (Timothée Chalamet) and his eccentric daughter, Murphy (Mackenzie Foy).  When Murphy leads him on a wild goose chase to find her imaginary friend, Cooper stumbles upon a yop-secret NASA base, especially shocking, considering that NASA was thought to have been disbanded years ago.

The NASA facility is led by Professor Brand (Michael Caine), a brilliant scientist who, along with the rest of the tattered remains of NASA, is desperately trying to find ways to save humanity. Driven to desperation, Brand’s Hail Mary plan is to send Cooper up to space in a spaceship with a couple scientists (David Gyasi and Wes Bentley), Brand’s daughter (Anne Hathaway), and a couple of robots ( and shoot ’em up into a recently-discovered wormhole around Saturn, taking them to a whole other galaxy, where humanity could find another place to settle down.

Seriously, before I get into this movie’s problems, I must stress that I did like the movie, despite its’ shortcomings, I enjoyed myself for, oh let’s say, 75% of the movie.  The movie’s almost three hours long, but throughout the first bit, it actually felt like it was breezing along, although not fast enough for me to miss out on the ever so important interactions between the characters. The score is composed by Hans Zimmer, who I have to thank for the soundtrack to The Lion King and Gladiator, meaning that he is one of my favourite human beings of all time. Unsurprisingly, he delivers some beautiful, atmospheric music that may not be hummable upon leaving the theatre, but it sure as hell worked in the context of the movie.

The performances were also great, which is kind of a given with Matthew McConaughey as a lead these days. Anne Hathaway and Michael Caine were both good in their role, as was Jessica Chastain in her role as an aged Murphy, and I never once felt the urge to strangle the child actors in the movie, which is always a positive in my book. Mackenzie Foy, especially, was really terrific as young Murphy, and surprised me by displaying a lot of chemistry with McConaughey. Especially surprising, since her breakout role was in the goddamn Twilight saga.

“Don’t listen to him, guys. I’m sure we won’t be working at a car wash within five years.”

I gotta say, though, the character of Tom, Murphy’s brother (Ably played by Timothée Chalamet and, later, Casey Affleck) seemed completely unnecessary to me. It could just have easily been a household comprised of Cooper, his in-law and his daughter, completely eliminated the character of Tom, and there would have been no less of an emotional impact to the proceedings in the movie. I dunno, I guess it was nice to see Casey Affleck in something.

It also bears mentioning that the movie is really, really gorgeous. From what I’ve heard, they actually had Kip Thorne be a sort of consultant on what things in space would look like (For lack of a better noun), so when you see a black hole, that’s what scientists are pretty sure  an actual black hole looks like. That’s pretty frickin’ rad.

Christopher Nolan has done a pretty solid job at incorporating shorter, emotional scenes in mainly serious movies, but he has set a new bar for himself with Interstellar in terms of emotional punch. I wouldn’t say it emotionally wrecked me, but holy crap does it get intense. Go ahead and skip to the end of this paragraph if you really don’t want to know anything about the movie going in, go ahead and skip to the end of this paragraph, but my favourite scene in the entire movie was when, due to the theory of relativity, Cooper discovers that his kids are now older than him. It’s not only a brilliant way to explain relativity to somebody, but also the best scene of the movie thanks to its emotional resonance.

Fuck me, that was the saddest damn thing.

However, it can work to the movie’s detriment too. The movie, for the most part, does a really good job of accurately portraying the science that would go into a space voyage, which makes sense, given that theoretical physicist Kip Thorne served as an executive producer. However, as much as I appreciate the science behind the movie, it loses me a little when it starts emphasizing the main theme in the film, that love transcends space and time, being, essentially, the strongest force in the universe.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against that being a theme in the movie. My problem is when the characters start spewing some bullshit about “quantifiable love”. I’m not going to go much more in depth for fear of venturing into spoiler territory, but seriously? I’m no physics major, that’s for damn sure, but I’m fairly sure that’s not actually a thing. The “power of love” crap may work in a movie such as Harry Potter, when the real-world applicability of the movie is non-existent, but in a movie such as Interstellar that puts such a large influence on the science, while keeping the human element mostly separate, you lose some brownie points from me when you try to spoon feed me with “quantifiable love.” It’s just too much of a stretch for a cynical bastard like me.

“Is…Is this love you’re feeding me? What the fuck is wrong with you!?!?”

Also, the dialogue seemed really clunky at times. I had to restrain myself from exclaiming “what!?” after Cooper explained to Murphy why he named her after Murphy’s Law. Most of the time, it’s a pretty typical, slick Nolan screenplay, but at other times…Ugh.

Another thing that was working against me was the length of the movie. Whenever a movie goes beyond the 160 minute range, it’s already gotten on my bad side. It’s not like I automatically hate it (The Lord of the Rings movies are three of the best movies of all time. Try and dissuade me of that, hipsters. I dare you.), it just has to do a bit more in the way of keeping me interested in the story to keep me distracted from the fact that I just blew three hours of my precious time. This movie did not do that. There were several times during the last 30 minutes of the movie when I felt that it should’ve ended, but it just kept trudging along, and it got to the point when I was just willing the movie to end, which is a pity, because looking back on it, it was a damn smart ending to a pretty damn good movie, but the ending was presented in such a hectic and drawn out way that I just got lost. Maybe I’m just stupid, I dunno.

One cursory look at my physics grade should have probably told me how much I would understand this movie.

Overall: It’s overly long, complicated, and occasionally displays stiff dialogue, but it’s a visual treat and an engrossing experience as well. It may not be for everybody, but it’s worth a watch. Just plan your day around it.

Rating: 7.5/10