Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

01 February 2015

Oscar Nominees 2015: Part 5 of 12

Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4.
Part 5 of 12:

Guardians of the Galaxy
2 Nominations
  • Visual Effects
  • Makeup
Director: James Gunn
Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoë Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, John C. Reilly, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Glenn Close, Karen Gillan, Benicio Del Toro

This was an awesome movie and I loved it. I loved all of its jokes; I loved the way it sent up the seriousness (unintentional campiness) of the Marvel universe; I loved Zoë Saldana; but most of all I loved Chris Pratt. Now, I know everyone loves Chris Pratt these days so this is not any big news or anything, but he is just so lovable! As for Guardians of the Galaxy itself, its use of '80s music, and its interest in anti-heroism make it fun and action-oriented without any of the deadly sentimentalism and nobility we have come to expect from Marvel Studios movies. I can't recommend this enough. It's one of the best action movies of the year.
Will Win: Makeup
Could Win: Visual Effects
My Rating: #33 out of 78

Still Alice
1 Nomination
  • Actress: Julianne Moore (The Hours, Far from Heaven, The End of the Affair, Boogie Nights)
Cast: Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth, Hunter Parrish, Stephen Kunken, Shane McRae, Erin Drake

Julianne Moore is finally going to win an Oscar. And it is about time. She has been nominated four times before (and got close to winning in 2003 for Far from Heaven), but this time it is for real. And one of the things that's great about this is that Still Alice is such a good movie. This isn't a picture that was especially tricked out so that Moore could win awards, this is a sensitive, well-made picture directed by the independent-film directing team who made The Fluffer and Quinceañera. In any case, I loved this movie, and I loved Julianne Moore in it, and I even loved K-Stew.
Will Win: Actress
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: #21 out of 78

Gone Girl
1 Nomination
  • Actress: Rosamund Pike
Director: David Fincher
Cast: Ben Affleck, Pike, Carrie Coon, Neil Patrick Harris, Kim Dickens, Missi Pyle, Patrick Fugit, Tyler Perry, Lola Kirke, Boyd Holbrook, Sela Ward, Emily Ratajkowski, David Clennon, Lisa Banes, Casey Wilson

A badass thriller that I found totally shocking at times. This is also a really interesting feminist film about the ways that women are forced to behave in certain ways and become objects that men can love ("cool girls", the film calls them). But the best part of Gone Girl is watching the nooses tighten around people's necks, watching the plots thicken, and the pleasure of squirming in your seat while someone does something you know is going to turn out really, really poorly. This is a well-shot, well-acted, exquisitely scripted tough-as-nails picture that got totally fucking ignored by the Academy for reasons I don't really understand. Was it too sexy for them? Too much about their television-addled lives? Too hard on its male characters? In any case, Rosamund Pike got a deserved nomination here, even though the film's director, screenwriter, composers, cinematographer, and editor all also deserved nominations. This is one of the great fuckups of this year by the Academy, if you ask me. This movie isn't in my top ten (there are too many good movies this year – not that Oscar is paying attention to many of those) but I know quality when I see it, and this deserved better. It's excellent.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: #14 out of 78

Deux Jours, Une Nuit (Two Days, One Night)
1 Nomination
  • Actress: Marion Cotillard (La Môme)
Cast: Cotillard, Fabrizio Rongione, Catherine Salée, Baptiste Sornin, Timur Magomedgadzhiev, Christelle Cornil, Myriem Akheddiou, Olivier Gourmet, Serge Koto, 

One of the year's absolute best. Cotillard plays a woman who is trying to go back to her job. To do this she needs the people who work on the floor of the plant with her to vote that she can have her job back. But if they vote yes, their boss has decreed that they will not get their bonus; the bonus will be used for her salary. It's a capitalist nightmare (i.e. real life) staged in human terms. Cotillard is superb and she just barely squeaked out a nomination here over Jennifer Aniston in Cake (whose movie could have gained steam if it had come out earlier). The film itself was submitted by Belgium in the Foreign Language category, but didn't make the January shortlist. The Dardennes, although they make near-perfect films every time they make one, have never been the Academy's particular cup of tea. They've never been nominated before. But, hey, Haneke finally got nominated for Amour two years ago, so maybe it's just a matter of time before the Dardennes are honored. Go see this movie, though. It is another one in my top ten for the year.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: #3 out of 78