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

08 February 2015

Oscar Nominees 2015: Part 7 of 12

Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Part 5. Part 6.
Part 7 of 12:

Captain America: the Winter Soldier
1 Nomination
  • Visual Effects
Cast: Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, Robert Redford, Sebastian Stan, Frank Grillo, Cobie Smulders, Maximiliano Hernández

This was really fun. It is so much better than the first Captain America movie, mostly because this movie has a lot of action. In the visual effects department there is just so much. Gigantic set pieces and flying buildings, and Anthony Mackie is something called Falcon and he flies around Washington DC like a badass. It's all very cool. I am sort of surprised this movie wasn't nominated for more things, but I take it that the Academy is not really into the whole Marvel-as-studio thing. This is perhaps not surprising, since they are sort of snobby, but Marvel is making tons and tons of money and giving a lot of people work. The Academy should get hip, especially if the movies are as good as this one was.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: #43 out of 80


Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
1 Nomination
  • Visual Effects
Director: Matt Reeves
Cast: Andy Serkis, Toby Kebbell, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Keri Russell, Nick Thurston, Kirk Acevedo, Judy Greer, Terry Notary, Doc Shaw

Yeah, this is very good. This is a good series with lots of big ideas. And this movie, like the last one, also dealt with real and interesting issues about humanity, racism, and animal rights. I wrote a little mini-essay on it when I first saw this movie back in July. I liked Dawn of the Planet of the Apes a good deal more than I liked more "important" movies this year – it's higher on my list than six of the Best Picture nominees, for example. This movie is excellent, and everyone should see it. It's exciting and powerful and imaginative and will ask you to use your brain. As for visual effects, this movie really works because of the humans who are digitally captured performing as apes. The effects people on these movies are doing insanely good work. This is great stuff.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: #30 out of 80


X-men: Days of Future Past
1 Nomination
  • Visual Effects
Director: Bryan Singer
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Patrick Stewart, Peter Dinklag, Ian McKellen, Nicholas Hoult, Halle Berry, Evan Peters.

This was awful. I don't want to complain about it anymore, though. My review is here. And the visual effects, particularly in the Quicksilver sequence that is pictured above, are really great. So this nomination is deserved. I want these movies to be better. I think that's the real issue with everything X-men. I love the X-men; have since I was a kid. And I just want these movies to sort of rock instead of being sentimental and schmaltzy. Use your powers and be a badass and stop moping around.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: #69 out of 80


The Hobbit: the Battle of the Five Armies
1 Nomination
  • Sound Effects Editing
Director: Peter Jackson
Cast: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Lee Pace, Richard Armitage, Luke Evans, Orlando Bloom, Aidan Turner, Dean O'Gorman, Evangeline Lilly, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Hugo Weaving, Christopher Lee, Sylvester McCoy, Stephen Fry

How the mighty have fallen! Like this dragon in the image above, who dies within the film's first twenty minutes, this final episode of The Hobbit series simply peters out, rather than being anything interesting. It's sad because The Lord of the Rings series is so delightful, but The Hobbit series is painful. They look like they are the same but they are manifestly not the same. I have gone over my feelings about this movie in detail here, so I won't go through any of that again, but the absurdity of this film is almost incomprehensible. Who knew that an excellent little piece of literature like Tolkien's original novel could be this dumbed down?
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: #76 out of 80