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

13 February 2015

Oscar Nominees 2015: Part 9 of 12

Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Part 5. Part 6. Part 7. Part 8.
Part 9 of 12:

The Lego Movie
1 Nomination
  • Original Song: Shawn Patterson
Cast: Chris Pratt, Morgan Freeman, Elizabeth Banks, Will Ferrell, Will Arnett, Liam Neeson, Keegen-Michael Key, Jonah Hill, Charlie Day, Shaquille O'Neal, Channing Tatum

I don't get it. I mean, I know that everyone was, like, really mad that this got "snubbed" for Best Animated Feature, but why? The Lego Movie is a movie that is designed to sell a product – and I don't just mean The Lego Movie itself but more Legos – and if this isn't totally clear to you watching the film, the DVD helpfully contains a commercial for LegoLAND. The film itself is premised upon the idea that what we all really need to do is throw away the directions and start building things based upon our own imaginations. This is what the so-called Master Builders in the film do. But if the movie pretends to be against conformity, it preaches it all the same, asking us to buy more Legos, and, by the end of the film, telling us just how much fun conformity can be. (If the female protagonist initially says she hates the song "Everything Is Awesome", both she and the male protagonist admit to loving this bit of conformist culture at the film's end.) Being just like everyone else isn't so bad, as long as you can pretend otherwise. "I'm just like everyone else, too, but don't tell anyone." Also the phrase "piece of resistance", a pun on the phrase pièce de résistance must've been uttered upwards of fifty times. It was driving me crazy.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: #75 out of 80


Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me
1 Nomination
  • Original Song: Glen Campbell & Julian Raymond
Director: James Keach
Cast: Glen Campbell

I haven't seen this yet, but the song is pretty incredible when you understand the story of the documentary. Campbell has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, and the film documents his farewell tour. In the nominated song "I'm Not Gonna Miss You", he sings "You're the last person I will love / You're the last face I will recall / Best of all / I'm not gonna miss you / Not gonna miss you." Pretty moving lyrics, if you ask me, and I'm looking forward to this film, despite my usual lack of interest in documentaries.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: Not Ranked


Begin Again
1 Nomination
  • Original Song: Gregg Alexander & Danielle Brisebois
Director: John Carney
Cast: Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, James Corden, Adam Levine, Hailee Steinfeld, Mos Def, Catherine Keener, Cee Lo Green

This is charming! First of all, it's a romantic comedy in which the two lead characters are not romantically involved. They revolve around one another, and spend their time together, but romance between the two of them is never really a topic of the film. It's fascinating... and refreshing. The performances are cute, the premise is cute, and the whole thing is fun and well done. And James Corden is so funny! He wins in every single one of his scenes. This is fun stuff. I am not ranking it as, like, one of the best films of the year or anything – it's quite a slight little thing – but Begin Again is good at what it is doing, and it's nominated song "Lost Stars" is a central part of the film. It's a good nomination.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: #49 out of 80


Beyond the Lights
1 Nomination
  • Original Song: Diane Warren (Pearl Harbor, Music of the Heart, Armageddon, Con Air, Up Close & Personal, Mannequin)
Cast: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Nate Parker, Minnie Driver, Richard Colson Baker, Danny Glover, Darryl Stephens, Elaine Tan, Isaac Keys, Tyler Christopher, Benito Martinez

I honestly have no idea what this is about, but I am imagining it's about the pressures of being a star (wake up baby, a star is a slave). Nate Parker is an actor I love, so I am kind of excited about this, but I missed it when it played here because there was a ridiculous snowstorm on the only day it played in Hanover. So I will have to wait to see Beyond the Lights until after the Oscar ceremony. As for Diane Warren, you can see above that all of her nominations have been for ridiculously poppy (if hugely popular) songs. They've all been big hits on the radio – "Music of My Heart" for 'NSync and Gloria Estefan, "There You'll Be" for Faith Hill, "How Do I Live" for Trisha Yearwood and LeAnn Rimes, "Because You Loved Me" for Céline Dion, "I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing" for Aerosmith, and "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" for Starship. But have you heard this Beyond the Lights song on the radio? It's called "Grateful" and it's a saccharine mess.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: Not Yet Rated