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Contents | February 2014 TELEVISION

Kenneth Shinozuka Editor-In-Chief

Spencer Lerner Managing Editor

Maddie Bender Lorenzo Brogi-Skoskiewicz Jasmine Katz Senior Content Editors

Jason Ginsberg Allison Chang Senior Design Editors

04 Marvel’s Agent Carter By Zarina Iman

Gabe Broshy Dahlia Krutkovich Junior Content Editors

Benjamin Ades Anne Rosenblatt Junior Design Editors

Christina Cho Amika Choudhury Evan Greene Daniel Mindich Staff Writers

Dr. Deborah Kassel

06 How To Get Away With Murder By Zarina Iman

Faculty Advisor FILM

10 It’s A Hard–Knock Life For Criticized Annie By Christina Cho

11 The British Invasion By Maggie Brill

12 The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel By Zarina Iman

13 The Spongebob Movie By Kaileen Germain

14 Top Ten Movies of 2014 By Lorenzo Brogi-Skoskiewicz

08 Cinderella Preiview By Kaileen Germian


Contents | February 2014

Predictions for the 87th Annual Academy Awards

By Kenneth Shinozuka

44 OSCAR–NOMINATED FILMS

THE OSCARS

22 The Imitation Game By Shawn Kim and Justin Tang

38

23 The Theory Of Everything

The Academy Awards Voting Process By Maggie Brill

By Kyra Hill

24 American Sniper By Ethan Parisier

26 Ida By Benjamin Ades

28 Foxcatcher By Seth Younger

40 Harris The Host By Christina Cho and Kaileen Germain

29 The Grand Budapest Hotel By Sam Younger

30 Selma By Zarina Iman

32 Birdman

41 The Origins Of The Oscar Statuette By Amika Choudhury

By Lorenzo Brogi-Skoskiewicz

34 Whiplash By Lorenzo Brogi-Skoskiewicz

42

36 Boyhood

Oscar Snubs And Surprises By Matt Parker

By Evan Greene


Television | Page 4

Hayley Atwell (left) as Agent Peggy Atwell, next to Chris Evans (right) as Captain America in Captain America: The First Avenger


Television | Page 5

Marvel’s

Agent Carter By Zarina Iman

M

arvel’s new TV series, Agent

dangerous inventions to foreign criminals,

Carter, has promise to becom-

when in reality, the weapons have been

ing an exception to the ‘all spin-

stolen. Stark enlists the help of Carter and

offs are bad’ rule. Set in post WWll 1946,

his butler, Edwin Jarvis (James D’Arcy), to

the show focuses on Agent Peggy Carter

track down and collect his weapons before

(Hayley Atwell), following the events of

the S.S.R. does. Carter and Jarvis’ person-

Captain America: The First Avenger. With

alities are completely contrary to one an-

men returning from the war, Carter takes

other, yet they are the perfect pair. Both

a job at the S.S.R., Strategic Scientific Re-

are equally resourceful in their own right

serve, where she’s treated like an inno-

and their short but comedic exchanges are

cent secretary. Surrounded by coworkers

sure to entertain.

that doubt her abilities, and those who go

To heighten the 1940s vibe, the crea-

so far as to openly mock her, such as Ray

tors, Christopher Markus and Stephen

Krzeminski (Kyle Bornheimer) and Jack

McFeely, add glamor to the series. Their

Thompson (Chad Michael Murray), Cart-

controlled use of loud band music, old

er becomes dejected and depressed. To

slang, and occasionally putting Carter in

make matters worse the S.S.R.’s investiga-

dazzling clothes all makes the show that

tion of Carter’s old friend, Howard Stark

much more exciting.

(Dominic Cooper), could potentially dis-

Agent Carter provides the action and

miss all the efforts made by her, Stark, and

adventure that the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

Captain America throughout the war.

was missing. With only four episodes the

drastically

show cannot be deemed a huge success,

change when Stark secretly asks for her

Carter’s

circumstances

but it’s pretty safe to assume that it will be.

help in clearing his name. The S.S.R. believes that Stark is a traitor, selling his

To heighten the 1940s vibe, the creators, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, add glamor to the series.


Television | Page 6

Viola Davis as Professor Annalise Keating in ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder

How to Get Away with Murder

A Riveting Tale of Adventure

By Zarina Iman

S

honda Rhimes, producer of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, has

sincere student accepted off the waitlist, while Connor Walsh (Jack

again succeeded in creating one of the most gripping and dra-

Falahee) is a sarcastic narcissist. Michaela Pratt (Aja Naomi King) is an

matic shows on television. Written by Peter Nowalk, How to

ambitious scholar who looks up to Keating, and Asher Millstone (Matt

Get Away with Murder has a complex and unique plot with extreme-

McGorry) a know-it-all from a privileged background. Laurel Castillo

ly diverse characters. The record-breaking show stars Viola Davis

(Karla Souza) is a reserved optimist who is left questioning her values

as Annalise Keating, a powerful lawyer and criminal law professor at

after every case. Keating’s brilliant student interns are monitored

Middleton University in Philadelphia. As a renowned defense attorney

by her two colleagues, lawyer Bonnie Winterbottom (Liza Weil), and

with her own firm, Keating chooses her brightest students to work for

Frank Delfino (Charlie Webber), who deals with matters of discretion.

her. With no apparent insecurities, Keating and her fierce attitude are

This talented cast elevates the intense and surreal plot to a point of

both feared and admired by her students. However, as her personal

believability, making the show even more thrilling.

life with her husband, Sam (Tom Verica), and her professional life begin

How to Get Away with Murder brings its viewers into the lives of

to intertwine, Keating is faced with challenging predicaments that test

five unique law students and their esteemed mentor. Throughout the

her will and resilience.

show the group defends a variety of criminals whose cases each have

Each episode of How to Get Away with Murder is an intricate mix of

something interesting to offer. Shonda Rhimes uses cinematography,

flashbacks and flash-forwards. The first episode begins with a group

her cast, and the depth of each character to create a masterpiece.

of law students deciding what to do with the body of someone they

The irregular format of each episode creates an alluring sentiment of

presumably murdered. The show then cuts to a few months before

tension and chaos. The suspenseful plot is comprised of a perfectly

present day, where the viewers discover that the students are all en-

interwoven combination of adventure and emotion. Right now I feel

rolled in Keating’s class and will be the fortunate few who will eventu-

completely confident saying that How to Get Away with Murder is one

ally work for her. Keating’s students are from a range of backgrounds,

of the most engaging TV shows of this year.

each with his/her own story to tell. Wes Gibbins (Alfred Enoch) is a


s e w h r

Television | Page 7

From Left to Right: Laurel Castillo (Karla Souza) and Frank Delfino (Charlie Weber)


Film | Page 8


Film | Page 9

Cinderella Preview By Kaileen Germain

T

here were those of us who, as children, would plead to our parents to watch our favorite movie

with its several twists. In this version, Cinderella and the Prince meet prior to the fateful ball and the Fairy Godmother is a more important character than in previous versions, as she is initially disguised as an old beggar

Numbers

who watches over Cinderella before revealing herself as

Th new film hopes to follow the success of past Cinderella films

a magical being. And this movie expounds a lot more on

ies often featured Disney princesses that we idolized and admired. Often, that princess was Cinderella, the girl with the glass shoe and the fairy godmother. And now, Cinderella, the classic fairy tale that we know and love, is coming back to the silver screen. The story follows the fortunes (and misfortunes) of Ella, whose merchant father remarries following the tragic death of her mother. Wanting to support her kindhearted father, Ella enlists the help of her new stepmother Lady Tremaine and her daughters Anastasia and Drizella and welcomes them into her home with open arms. But when Ella’s father suddenly and unexpectedly

the background of her life, all the way back to the time that her mother was alive. With Lily James from Down-

for “five more minutes” (which would then turn

into two hours). And for a lot of young girls, those mov-

the original story line of Cinderella; we can actually see

1634

year the folk story of cinderlla was first published

$210m

Projected total Domestic Gross

15

Number of film and television Cinderella adaptations

town Abbey, Richard Madden from Game of Thrones, and renowned actress Helena Bonham Carter, this movie is bound to be magical. The trailer features beautiful music and incredible effects, which only further builds the anticipation of the film. And kudos to the prop department for designing a glass slipper that won’t shatter into pieces when Cinderella wears it. This adaptation might be darker than Disney’s animated version, but it is guaranteed to be a lot of fun for the whole family. Cinderella stumbles into theaters March 13, 2015.

passes away, she finds herself stuck with her new family, who are not who they at first appeared to be. Instead of the happily ever after she wanted, she instead received a family who practically treated her as a slave. Becoming nothing more than a servant girl covered in ashes and renamed Cinderella after working in cinders, Ella could have easily lost hope, just as many people would have done in her situation. But despite the cruelty inflicted upon her, Ella was determined to honor her mother’s dying words and to “have courage and be kind.” And then she meets a handsome and kind stranger in the woods. Not knowing that he is actually the prince of the kingdom and not a footservant, Ella finally feels she has met a kindred soul who understands her suffering. And her luck is just beginning when the palace sends out an open invitation for all maidens to attend a ball, raising Ella’s hopes of once again encountering the charming stranger. But like the evil woman she is, her stepmother forbids her from attending and rips apart Ella’s dress, given to her by her mother. But like all good fairy tales, help can always be found as a kind beggar woman steps forward and, with a pumpkin and a few mice, changes Cinderella’s life forever. For the most part, the new film follows Disney’s 1950 animated adaptation, but still finds ways to be original

Lily James as Ella in the 2015 film adaptation of Cinderella, to be released on March 13


Film | Page 10

AILEEN QUINN

It’s A Hard-Knock Life for Criticized Annie By Christina Cho

T

QUVENZHANÉ WALLIS

he peppy red head famously known

cal ideas of Gray’s 1924 comic strip by demon-

and changed from Miss Hannigan’s brother

as Annie is not just an orphan who

strating to her class how the New Deal helped

to Stacks’ betraying advisor. and America’s

luckily winds up living in a billionaire’s

put people back to work. Annie still wears red

favorite Molly is kept adorable but renamed

home. She had been first created in Harold

in practically every scene, but this time, she

Mia.

Gray’s popular comic strip as the mouthpiece

dresses like a typical kid in leggings and jean

Unfortunately, myopic and nitpicky review-

for America, airing Gray’s ultra-conserva-

jackets. Not only is she set free from her dress

ers have only criticized Quvenzhané Wallis’

tive views against policies like the New Deal.

collection, but she also is no longer limited to

heart-warming singing and Rose Byrne’s en-

Adaptations to the comic, the first of which

her signature red hair. In fact, a smooth tran-

ergetic dancing. Moreover, they neglected to

was released in 1938 by Paramount Pictures,

sition from the former white Annie to the

praise its excellent reshaping of the American

have all made minor changes to Annie’s ad-

new black Annie is carefully arranged. Some

classic and the fact that thousands of children

ventures, yet Annie has always been stuck to

characters like optimistic Annie, caring Grace,

adore the new Annie because of its relatabili-

her outdated, early 20th century self. That is,

cute Tessie, and bitter Pepper are kept the

ty and its music’s catchy beat. Critics have yet

until now, for a 2014 version of Annie has re-

same while others are modernized. Oliver

to realize that America finally has our grand-

cently been released with refreshing, modern

Warbucks is kept distant and work-orient-

parents’ favorite 1900’s classic turned into an

variations.

ed but renamed as Will Stacks; additionally,

unbelievably impressive go-to family movie

The new movie stays in sync with themes

he has been changed from a billionaire stock

for the younger generation, so don’t listen to

of the original story, but with a spunkier twist.

investor to a cellphone company billionaire.

the fallacious reviews. Go watch Annie with

Annie (played by Quvenzhané Wallis) stays a

Miss Hannigan is kept abusive and drunk but

your younger brother or sister because even

New York City orphan with a miraculous op-

changed to have a new soft side that saves

a millennial will find the movie’s 21st century

portunity to change her life, but this time, she

the day. Punjab is kept the “Magical Negro”

jokes and set pieces exciting.

lives in the 21st century. Despite the change

bodyguard but renamed Nash. Rooster is

in time period, she still connects to the politi-

kept as a selfish character but renamed Guy


Film | Page 11

The British Invasion of the 21st Century Movie Industry: The Influx of Brits Who Were Nominated This Year By Maggie Brill

J

ust like the “British Invasion” that occurred in the mid-1960’s, a phenomenon which led to Beatlemania and the rise of several other famous British pop and rock bands, the movie industry

is experiencing a revolution of its own. When the Oscar’s Best Picture nominees were announced in mid-January, it shed light on the growing popularity of British actors and British films in 2014. This overwhelming trend can’t help but be noticed. Two out of the eight Best Picture nominees are British biographical films, The Theory of Everything and The Imitation Game. We also see this popularization in the TV industry, with shows like BBC’s Sherlock and Doctor Who. The Theory of Everything tells the life story of Stephen Hawking, played by Eddie Redmayne, concentrating on his scientific achievements as well as his personal struggles with his marriage and his disease. The film debuted at #7 in the Box Office after its widespread release, making almost $5 million its opening day. The film was nom-

Benedict Cumberbatch as computer scientist Alan Turing in The Imitation Game,

inated for five Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Eddie Redmayne, and Best Actress in a Leading Role, Felicity Jones. The Imitation Game focuses on the mathematician Alan Turing’s

these actors that is reflected in the Oscar nominations, it seems that

race to crack the enigma code during World War II, a feat which

America and the movie industry don’t mind this new trend. For exam-

would allow Western allies to decipher secret radio communications

ple, David Oyelowo, who delivered a powerful performance as Mar-

used by Nazi Germany. The film was nominated for eight Oscars in-

tin Luther King Jr. in Selma, has a distinctive British accent. So does

cluding Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and

Rosamund Pike, who was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role

Best Original Score. It also produced two of the best performances

in Gone Girl.

of the year, by Benedict Cumberbatch, who was nominated for Best

The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything are connected by

Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, and Keira Knightley, for

the level of their success in Oscar nominations and by their biograph-

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role.

ical nature. Both of these films are based on books that depict critical

British actors have successfully assimilated into Hollywood’s film

advancements in science and mathematics with a backdrop of social

industry in not only English roles, but also American roles. Even

and personal issues that haunt the main characters. The new genre of

Amy Poehler, the co-host of the 2015 Golden Globes, couldn’t resist

British biopics is emerging as a force to be reckoned with, for the films

cracking a joke about the unusual number of British actors playing

are expected to take home several Oscars this year. British actors have

Americans this year. “I like when they talk like this. I can’t tell that they

been weaving their way into the movie industry for a while, and the suc-

are British when they are speaking in our movie parts,” she said in a

cess of these two films cements their welcome into Hollywood by both

sarcastic, over-annunciated voice. But, considering the success of

critics and fans.


Film | Page 12

Deborah Moggach

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel By Zarina Iman

he Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is

T

“crumbling ruins” of the hotel. Madge Hardcas-

set to be released in the U.S. on March

tle (Celia Imrie), another of the hotel’s retirees,

6th. The movie is directed by John Mad-

is a grandmother with several unsuccessful

den and adapted by Ol Parker from Deborah

marriages, who is now faced with two wealthy

Moggach’s novel The Exotic Marigold Hotel.

suitors. Norman and Carol (Ronald Pickup and

This film, according to Madden, is a “companion

Diana Hardcastle), the two final recurring char-

piece” to its predecessor, allowing viewers the

acters in the film, strive to have an exclusive re-

freedom to watch the second film without see-

lationship.

ing the first.

The old characters are joined by a few fresh

Centered around the flourishing Exotic Mar-

faces. Richard Gere and Tasmin Grieg are intro-

igold Hotel in India, this film tells the story of its

duced as Guy and Lavina, who, upon arrival to

retired residents and the hotel’s manger, Sonny

the hotel, are told that there is only one room

Kapoor (Dev Patel). Sonny is attempting to ex-

left, so the hotel cannot accommodate them

pand the hotel with Muriel Donnelly (Maggie

both. Oscar Nominee David Strathairn also ap-

Smith), a resident and co-manager of the estab-

pears.

lishment, while he plans his wedding with Sunai-

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’s

na (Tena Desae). Two other residents, Evelyn

well known cast and their characters’ interest-

and Douglas (Judi Dench and Bill Nighy), contin-

ing predicaments will surely result in hours of

ue to fall in love, though they haven’t made any

hilarious and dramatic entertainment, making

of their plans official. Their situation becomes

this companion piece as equally successful as

increasingly uncomfortable when Jean (Penelo-

the first.

pe Wilton), Douglas’ ex-wife, returns to see the


Film | Page 13

The Spongebob Movie

Krabs and Plankton become superheroes, thanks to the magical book that makes stories come true. With their newly acquired powers, they are able

By Kaileen Germain

to take on the villainous Burger-Beard with Bikini Bottom and the secret Krabby Patty recipe caught in the middle of the battle.

N

But not everything will be the same for the

ickelodeon has produced several hit

SpongeBob crew in their new cinematic film. The

shows like iCarly, Victorious, and

characters won’t only appear in their normal 2-di-

even Rugrats. But the star of their

network- a porous and yellow sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea- Spongebob Squarepants, the yellow sponge with a heart of gold, has been with us since 1999. His extremely successful TV series that is, thankfully, still airing, has captured the hearts of many. I know I’ve gone through many a SpongeBob marathon, wishing that I could defy laws of

Numbers The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water has seen great financial and cirtical success

$74m Budget

nature like he and his friends could, including building a fire under the sea. When The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie aired in

$150m

Box office Gross

2004, it was a massive success, well-received by fans and critics, making Spongebob to Nickelodeon what Mickey Mouse is to Disney or the Looney Tunes is to Warner Bros. And with a success like that, how could there not

mensional selves, but also, coming into our world, will appear in 3D as computer-generated models, which has become normal for current animated films. All the original voice actors will come back to reprise their roles- Tom Kenny as SpongeBob SquarePants, Bill Fagerbakke as Patrick Star, Rodger Bumpass as Squidward Tentacles, Clancy Brown as Mr. Krabs, Doug “Mr.” Lawrence as Plankton, and Carolyn Lawrence as Sandy Cheeks. But viewers can expect to see Spanish actor Antonio Banderas play the evil Burger-Beard and a cameo from Slash, the Guns ‘N’ Roses guitarist. With a killer cast and an epic plotline, tickets will probably go by fast.

73%

Rotten tomatoes score out of 64 reviews

If you’re ready for an adventure, be sure to catch The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, making a splash in theaters on February 6th, 2015.

be a sequel? Nick seemed to ask themselves that same question, because here we are now with Nickelodeon Movies and Paramount Pictures teaming up in an all-new sequel, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water. Spongebob, Patrick and the rest of the undersea gang wash up ashore, leaving their world and entering our own. Burger-Beard is a pirate in search of the final page of a magical book that makes any evil plan he writes in it come true, which happens to be the Krabby Patty secret formula. When his search is completed and the formula is missing, the entire city of Bikini Bottom is in danger. SpongeBob, Patrick, and the gang need to go on a quest that takes them to the surface. And in order to save their city and retrieve their sacred recipe, fans get to see SpongeBob, Patrick, Squidward, Mr.

From Left to Right: Mr. Krabs (Clancy Brown), Squidward Tentacles (Rodger Bumpass),, Spongebob Squarepants (Tom Kenny), and Patrick Star (Bill Faberbakker)


Film | Page 14

Top Ten Movies of 2014 By Lorenzo Brogi-Skoskiewicz

THE BABADOOK (10) Directed by Jennifer Kent It’s rare these days to see a good horror movie. Most current horror movies are unoriginal and utilize predictable jump scares and gore to “scare” people, but really all this does is make the movie feel stale and boring. However The Babadook is exactly what a horror movie is supposed to be, scary. Seriously, this movie is terrifying. I couldn’t stop thinking about it for a solid day and It was stuck in my mind. The movie tells the story of the widowed Amelia and her son Sam who find a mysterious popup book called “Mister Babadook”, about a creature that never stops tormenting people after they are made aware of its existence. Afterwards Amelia becomes traumatized by the books contents and begins to go insane while Sam believes that the creature is actually following them now. What follows is one of the scariest 94 minutes of cinema I have ever watched. The movie uses both psychological horror and physical violence to scare the viewer in every way imaginable. However, what really makes The Babadook stand out is it’s attention to filming. It’s a remarkably well-directed movie and every scene is carefully filmed with remarkable attention to detail, especially considering the movie only had a $4.5 million budget. This movie is exactly what a horror film is supposed to be and a bright spot in what is otherwise a dreadfully boring genre.

10


Film | Page 15 THE LEGO MOVIE (9) Directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller

9

I went into this movie with very low expectations and came out completely surprised at how good it actually was. The Lego Movie tells the story of Emmet, an ordinary legoman who suddenly finds the long-lost “Piece of Resistance” and is suddenly thrust into an adventure to save the world alongside a whole cast of different lego characters. While the plot sounds silly the movie is surprisingly deep and filled with emotion; moreover, each of the characters actually has real emotional depth in most scenes. The movie is intentionally stylized to be the top to be as ridiculous as possible so it seems as if the viewer is being thrust into this wild ride alongside Emmet. While many people say that the movie is just a long commercial for Lego, which it really is, the movie does a great job of showing exactly what is just so great about the toy. The pace moves by so quickly and the characters build spaceships out of ordinary items, manifesting Lego’s motto of unleashing your own imagination. The directors make the movie scenes breathlessly quick and over-saturated with thousands of lego blocks everywhere. They unhinge our minds from normal

FORCE MAJEUR (8) Directed by Ruben Östlund Force Majeur is a Swedish film that tells the story of Tomas, a rich business man, and his wife Ebba and their two children. Together they go on a week-long family ski trip to the Swiss Alps at a fancy resort. On their second day there, a controlled avalanche goes awry and, in panic, Tomas runs away and abandons his family. Fortunately, nobody is hurt, but when he comes back he notices that his wife is suddenly cold to him and she struggles to forgive him for what he did. The rest of the film captures the remaining days left in their vacations as the cracks in Tomas’s marriage begin to unravel and it’s up to him to save it and get his family’s forgiveness. Force Majeur is an incredibly well-directed and acted movie. It also features a mix of laughout-loud comedy and traverses the entire emotional spectrum. The movie provides a very interesting view on marriage and wealth, claiming that they do not actually mix well together. On the outside, all the characters in the movie seems content with their life, but on the inside, they show that they are unsatisfied with their relationships and long not for wealth, but for security and love. While many people will not see Force Majeur because it’s a rather unknown movie in America, it’s truly worth the time and is one of the best movies of this entire year. However it’s not quite the best foreign movie of this year.

8


Film | Page 16 SNOWPIERCER (7) Directed by by Bong Joon-ho

7

Easily the most original blockbuster of the last five years, Snowpiercer is exactly how a big budget action movie should be made, a combination of restless action and artistic cinema. Snowpiercer is a two hour thrill that takes the viewer on a train ride through the social hierarchy of wealth and by doing so is able to make a profound statement about modern society. The movie takes place in the future with the world being accidentally frozen solid. The only survivors live on a train that never stops and crosses the entire world. The people who bought tickets onto the train live surrounded with wealth and luxury in the front, while the people who scrambled on are forced to live in darkness and poverty in the tail section. Finally, under the lead of Curtis (Chris Evans), the tail section of the train revolts against the guards and Curtis leads his group car by car until he finally reaches the train engine. While it’s easy to sit back and admire the beauty of the film’s cinematography and the breathtaking action stunts, Snowpiercer really shows its true colors upon closer viewing. Mr. Joon-ho is able to show us Curtis’s progression as a character. Every time Curtis has to make a decision about whether to continue his revolution or to save his people’s lives, the camera show him looking left or right. Left represents his home in the tail-section of the train. The right, the front of the train, is the unknown territory where, the farther he ventures, the less he acts like Curtis and is overwhelmed by everything he sees. By doing so, the director gives the viewer linear character development and makes it easy to trace every single turning point in the story. Another interesting aspect of Snowpiercer is that the people in the back are forced to live without windows so they can’t see the world, while the rich people in the front also don’t have windows; however, the wealthy do this by choice. Meanwhile, in the back, passengers have no option but to live in darkness and muck, while the rich are blind to the joy of the world only by choice. This is just a handful of the hidden meanings inside Snowpiercer, and Mr. Joon-ho must be given credit for making such a refined and spectacular action movie.

BIRDMAN (6) Directed by Ruben Östlund See Page 32 for a Review

6


Film | Page 17 THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL (5) Directed by Wes Anderson

5

Wes Anderson’s films are some of the most unique and creative films being made today. However, he has also had an extremely inconsistent career. Some of his movies have been tons of fun and excitement, while others have just been plaid old silly. However, The Grand Budapest Hotel is a return to from for Wes Anderson and is just possibly his best movie. Taking place in the fictional country of Zubrowka, it tells the story of a new lobby boy, named Zero, at a fancy hotel called the Grand Budapest. The director of the hotel is Monsieur Gustave. H (played by the incredible Ralph Fiennes), who takes Zero under his wing and teaches him how to be the best lobby boy. What follows is a ridiculous and hysterical adventure featuring stolen art, ski chases, prison escapes, love, a world war, and lots of perfume. The truly amazing thing about this movie is the war Mr. Anderson is able to mix his own unique style with passionate and moving directing. The sets and costumes in this movie are beautiful and are all based to a color palette that has vivacious colors like pink that infuse the set’s with delight. Mr. Anderson is also able to draw a fine line between humor and serious drama, and the movie mixes the both of them perfectly. The real standout of this movie is the all-star cast and especially Ralph Fiennes. His Gustave. H is so full of wit and charm that his character just becomes more and more likable as the movie goes on. Mr. Fiennes takes a crack at being funny, and he is truly hysterical, a remarkable feat for an actor who usually plays the villain in movies. Thanks to this blend of comedy and beauty, Mr. Anderson has given us an exciting and entertaining movie that can be re-watched over and over again, and is the perfect blend of Mr. Anderson’s style and old fashioned filmmaking.

BOYHOOD (4) Directed by Richard Linklater For the last 15 years Richard Linklater has been one of the best indie filmmakers in the world and has constantly produced charming movies. However, none of them resonate as deeply as Boyhood does. Filmed over a course of 12 years with the same cast, the movie tells the story of the young Mason Jr. (Ellar Coltrane), who lives in Texas with his mom (Patricia Arquette) and older sister. The movies shows him growing up right until he leaves home for college and gives us his entire life story. The movie is a beautiful piece that can resonate with anybody who watches it, solely because everyone has a moment that he or she can relate to in this movie. For parents, it might be seeing their kids go off to college; for some, it might be meeting their best friend; and for others, it might be something as seemingly trivial as loosing a tooth or getting taller. Boyhood makes us remember that life is not defined by milestones and accomplishments, but instead the small moments in between. The everyday joys and troubles are what allows us to grow and change, and that is the magic of Boyhood. We see Ellar and his family grow up right in front of our eyes and it is truly amazing to see, because the viewer becomes so connected and attached to the characters. What Mr. Linklater has done is a remarkable technical achievement and he will surely win Best Director this year, and the movie will most likely win Best Picture as well. Nonetheless, there are three other movies that I think are better this year.

4


Film | Page 18 IDA (3) Directed by Pawel Pawlikowski

3

Ida is by far the best Polish movie ever, and also this year’s best foreign film. Taking place during Communist Poland in the 1960’s, the movie tells the story of Ida, a young nun who is about to take her vows and her only surviving relative is her aunt, Wanda. Soon Ida discovers that she’s actually Jewish and goes on a journey with her aunt to find where her parents are buried. At first glance, this movie comes at a shock; every frame is so still with silence and little to no movement. It contrasts the modern hollywood style of constant movement and quick cutting to show the beauty of stillness. Mr Pawlikowski’s camera is completely stationary and never moves at all and is many of the times focused on the surroundings rather than the characters themselves. It’s an experimental idea that really pays off; there has never been a movie made with so much stillness before. The movie shows that true beauty lies not in colors and movement, but in silence and grayness. The cinematography is truly fantastic and captures the reckoning that World War II had on Poland and reflects the grimness of Communist architecture. For example, in one scene, Mr. Pawlikowski shows the young Ida staring at a broken down wall in a farm that is all chipped. The frame is taken up mostly by the wall. Ida stares at it for a good solid minute and then leaves. What Mr. Pawlikowski is really trying to say here is that the wall is still there. The wall has made it through World War II, standing the test of time and years of wear and tear, while the rest of the farm hasn’t. This can also symbolize the the Polish people, who have had to deal with both the effects of World War II and Communism and yet have persevered through all the obstacles they faced.

CITIZEN FOUR (2) Directed by Laura Poitras Documentaries have for a long time been one of the most ignored genres in film. Nonetheless, they are also by far the most interesting, and CitizenFour is a perfect example of one. In January 2013, the director of this movie received an encrypted e-mail from a man named Citizen Four who offered her information about illegal activities conducted by the NSA. She then went to Hong Kong with her camera to meet the man, whose real name was Edward Snowden (note that her meeting occurred before Snowden’s rise to notoriety). The movie then pieces together her interviews with Snowden and other experts about the NSA’s activities. What follows is one of the scariest and most interesting documentaries ever made. The movie envelops the viewer in a network of scandals and deceit and completely demands your attention for two hours. This movie is grippingly tense, even though it revolves mainly around courtroom hearings and hotels. As the information comes piling out, Mrs. Poitras unravels a string of lies from the NSA, gradually building up nervous excitement. CitizenFour is the closest you can possibly make a documentary resemble a thriller, and is a nerve-racking and exhilarating ride that provides an extremely satisfying conclusion. This movie should definitely be nominated for Best Picture. Unfortunately, the Academy doesn’t usually recognize documentaries, even though this movie was by far better than seven of this year’s nominated movies.

2


Film | Page 19

WHIPLASH (1) Directed by Damien Chazelle See Page 34 for a Review

1


Cinemann Covers The 87th Academy Awards


Oscar–Nominated Film | Page 22

Keira Knightley (left) as Joan Clarke, Benedict Cumberbatch (right) as Alan Turing, and other cast members attempt to crack a code in The Imitation Game.

NOMINATED FOR 8 OSCARS, INCLUDING BEST PICTURE, DIRECTOR, AND SUPPORTING ACTRESS

The Imitation Game By Shawn Kim and Justin Tang he Imitation Game features Benedict Cumberbatch and Kei-

T

Although the film is based on the historical importance of the pio-

ra Knightley. Alan Turing, a mathematician and cryptanalyst, is

neer of modern-day computing, an underlying theme is detrimental

played by Cumberbatch. Based on a true story, Turing is tasked

to an already socially inept Alan Turing. Turing’s love life is stuck in a

with the duty of cracking the German’s code, the Enigma, during World

catch-22. Throughout the film, the viewers find out that Turing is con-

War II. Grouped with scholars, intellectuals, mathematicians, chess

victed of ‘gross indecency,’ an accusation that would lead to his devas-

champions and officers, Turing and his team go on the arduous task

tating conviction for the for criminal offense of homosexuality. There

of breaking the code while enduring many obstacles. At first, the team

is nothing Turing can do. Later, we find out that the conviction leads

does not comply with Turing’s attitude but later gain to respect him.

to his death. Turing and Clarke make a poignant pair, each embodying

Joan Clarke, played by Keira Knightley, is a fellow mathematician

the enormous social cost of irrational biases and hatreds, with Cum-

and cryptanalyst. She is Turing’s friend and briefly, his fiancée. She is

berbatch especially giving an otherwise tetchy, annoyingly arrogant

the only woman to help in the decoding of Enigma and arguably the

character a welcome dose of humanizing sympathy. Viewers may get

most important. Clarke is Turing’s much needed confidant as we see

the sense that “The Imitation Game” leaves Turing’s essential myster-

flashbacks in the film of Turing as a boy with barely any friends at all.

ies intact, but they will nonetheless find even the most public contours

Joan Clarke both complements Turing’s genius as well as contrasts his

his story ripe with drama, excitement and deeply affecting resonance.

awkwardness with her graciousness.


Oscar–Nominated Film | Page 23 NOMINATED FOR 5 OSCARS, INCLUDING BEST PICTURE, ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE, AND ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

The Theory of Everything By Kyra Hill

S

tephen Hawking, English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author, was no ordinary man. Born in 1942, Hawking studied at Cambridge

University, where he fostered his keen interest in cosmology and physics. It was almost instantly that Hawking de-veloped a fascination with the study of space and time. However , he started to become physically clumsier during his time as a doctoral student, inhibiting his efforts to study. In 1963, when he

Eddie Redmayne as theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything

was only 21 years old, Hawking was diagnosed with motor neuron disease (also known as ALS) and given only two years to live. By overcoming all obstacles and defying every expectation given to him, Hawking and his brave wife, Jane Wilde, stunned the world with his amazing yet struggling journey. The Theory of Everything, released November 2014, tells Hawking’s incredible story though personal aspects and public as-pirations. British actors Eddie Redmayne (Les Miserables) and Felicity Jones (The Invisible Woman, Like Crazy) play Hawking

Jones strikingly stands out, as she plays a wife

and Wilde, respectively. Redmayne’s performance

trying to do her best and find the love of her life

is priceless, worthy of his Golden Globe Best Actor

tucked inside a disabled man struggling to even

Drama, and revealing his huge potential. Redmayne

speak. Her performance is realistic and tugs at the

begins Hawking’s journey by channeling the inner

heart. Redmayne, on the other hand, delivers an

characteristics of a student. Attempting to maintain

Oscar-worthy performance that is filled with dra-

grades, stress, and figuring out young romance, all

ma and struggle. He shines light on the personal

while secluded under a perfect amount of awkward-

and private struggle that effects himself and his

ness. He struggles to understand the difficulties

family, a performance that goes beyond the movie

that come with taking such a demanding major while

screen. The film is illuminated by charming sets, an

studying under a teacher he prefers not to have.

award-winning music score, and a humor-tinged

But then he meets Jane Wilde, his future wife, and

storyline that makes an audience both smile and

he suddenly becomes a giddy little boy, a spark of

weep.

excitement that is impossible to resist. Felicity Jones plays Wilde, and is charming and undeniably likable. Their relationship blooms into a sweet romance that makes the audience smile with happiness. Throughout the film, their performances are raw and defining.

Throughout the film, their performances are raw and defining.

Worthy of all possible Oscar buzz, I applaud the cast for their courage to explore imperfect humans who listen to their heart and their head at the same time, all while shapeshifting to become the world’s greatest heroes and cheeseball romantics.


Oscar–Nominated Film | Page 24

AMERICAN SNIPER

BY ETHAN PARISIER

NOMINATED FOR 6 OSCARS, INCLUDING BEST PICTURE, ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE, AND ADAPTED SCREENPLAY


There are three types of people in this world: sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs, some people prefer to believe that evil doesn’t exist in the world, and if it ever darkened their doorstep, they wouldn’t know how to protect themselves. Those are the sheep. Then you’ve got predators, who use violence to prey on the weak. They’re the wolves. And then there are those blessed with the gift of aggression, an overpowering need to protect the flock. These men are the rare breed who live to confront the wolf. They are the sheepdog. – Wayne Kyle

A

midst the controversy over Clint

highlights his transformation into a more re-

in depth by Eastwood and the director makes

Eastwood’s next directorial piece af-

served and damaged person after returning

use of both their similarities and differences

ter his rather lackluster Jersey Boys,

from every one of his four tours in Iraq. Their

to create a yin and yang dynamic between

many critics, fans and followers of his films

chemistry on-screen is noticeable and helps

Mustafa and Chris. But most notably, East-

wondered whether his next film would meet

to increase the realism of the film, driving

wood’s depiction of the post-traumatic stress

their expectations. Well, American Sniper

the story through its emotional lulls and cre-

that Kyle experiences after his tours in Iraq

may be the best modern war film, providing an

scendos and making the film a suspenseful,

allows the audience to look inside the mind

emotional, raw depiction of the Iraq War and

hard-hitting drama.

of the scarred Kyle and the triggers of his

the physical and emotional toll that war takes on soldiers and their families.

In addition to the artful acting from the

stress. In order to show this to the audience,

leading cast, Clint Eastwood does a fantastic

Eastwood created visual and aural cues such

The film stars Bradley Cooper as the tit-

job of creating a suspenseful and emotional

as a barking dog, which precipitates an emo-

ular Chris Kyle, a Texas rodeo cowboy who

experience and makes American Sniper his

tionally fraught reaction from Chris. Overall,

becomes a Navy Seal sharp shooter in the

best work in the director’s chair. In the scenes

Clint Eastwood’s direction of American Snip-

wake of anti-American terrorist attacks and

taking place in the streets of Fallujah and oth-

er brought an ugly and almost eerie tone to

is deployed to Iraq, where he becomes the

er locations in Iraq, Eastwood creates enor-

the story of Chris Kyle, while creating more

deadliest sniper in U.S. history. Sienna Mill-

mous amounts of tension even with the film’s

respect for him and his exploits and conveying

er also makes her return to the big screen

minimal soundtrack. An example of this is in

his tale to audiences in a creative and artistic

as Taya Kyle, Chris’ wife and moral tentpole

the first scene of the film, where audiences

fashion.

throughout his emotionally scarring and mor-

find Kyle set up on a rooftop with his spotter,

Whether in the streets of Fallujah or on

ally testing journey from rodeo nobody to

overlooking a war torn street as American

the plains of Texas, American Sniper delivers

American hero. Both Cooper and Miller put

troops and vehicles move through. All seems

not only as a traditional war film, but also as a

up excellent performances, especially from

to be going to plan until Kyle spots a mother

deep and profound drama about the psycho-

Cooper as he displays Kyle’s slow transition

and child emerge from a house through his

logical effects of combat on individual soldiers

from a confident, untested rookie seal, to the

scope. The mother then reveals an anti-tank

and their families. Bradley Cooper gives an

emotionally scarred “legend” who is haunted

grenade from under her clothing and hands

outstanding performance as Chris Kyle, deliv-

by the events and horrors of war that he en-

it to the child. As the child begins to run to-

ering a vast range of emotions as he depicts

dures during his journey to military stardom.

wards a convoy full of marines, Kyle has to

“the legend’s” life and his ascension to mili-

The previous roles in Cooper’s career, such

make a crucial decision to shoot the child or

tary fame. Sienna Miller also puts up a great

as his role in Silver Linings Playbook, have not

not. “They will fry you if you are wrong,” says

display of her acting talent as she plays Chris’

tested the young actor’s range of emotion as

his spotter as Kyle sets up the shot. As ten-

loving, supportive and strong wife, Taya. To

much as American Sniper, where he performs

sion is at its highest, audiences are left at a

any viewer, American Sniper is a must-see, not

masterfully and proves that he may be one of

cliffhanger ending an extremely well-made

only as a phenomenal war film, but also as an

the best actors of his time. He paints the por-

scene by Eastwood. As the film progresses,

immersive and complex commentary on the

trait of the emotionally maimed Kyle with the

Kyle entangles himself in a somewhat intense

brutality and ugly nature of modern war and

finesse of a skilled artist. And Miller delivers

rivalry with an enemy sniper named Mustafa,

the side effects that many veterans endure

an emotional performance, conveying Taya’s

who eludes his scope and proves a formidable

for the rest of their lives.

concern about Chris’ absence and the toll that

yet inconspicuous adversary. The dynamic

the war has taken on him. Her performance

between these two snipers was played upon


Oscar–Nominated Film | Page 26

NOMINATED FOR 2 OSCARS, INCLUDING BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM AN

Ida By Benjamin Ades

I

Ida, a frontrunner for this year’s Best Foreign Film category at the 87th Academy Awards, is arguably one of the most beautiful and uniquely done films of the year. The film has also been nominated for Best Cinematography at the Oscars, and rightly so; every gorgeous shot could stand on its own as a photograph. Through director Paweł Pawlikowski’s innovative and striking visual style, Ida is able to recreate the mood and atmosphere of 1960’s Poland. The film follows an orphaned young novice, Anna (Agata Trzebokowska).

throughout the film.

Right before taking her vows to become a nun, she meets her only living relative, her aunt Wanda (Agneta

Numbers

Kulesza), who informs her that Anna is in fact Jewish. Both

Ida has had a relatively limited release, but is one of the most successful Polish films to date.

women go on a journey to discover their Jewish heritage together and the death of their family. Although set during Poland’s Communist rule and modernization era, the film does not have a strong focus on the historical forces at work; rather, the story Pawlikowski tells us is about the personal conflicts and choices the protagonists encounter. The movie explores the issue of identity and the meaning of nationality, religion, gender and political affiliation. Anna is shaken up after learning that she is not really who she thinks she is. She draws a stark contrast with her aunt, who served as a judge with a high communist rank and sent many people to their death during the Stalinist era. Anna is innocent and incapable of committing such evils, and in this way they are also profoundly different. Their differences are reflected in their clothing too; Anna will almost always be wearing light gray, a religious habit, while her aunt frequently wears dark black clothing

$1.7m Budget

$10.7m

Pawlikowski’s past as a documentary filmmaker is evident in his meticulous use of authentic locations and his visual style. He filmed Ida in black and white with a 4:3 aspect ratio, narrow framing, and almost completely static shots. The fact that we see the characters constrained by some type of frame such as a door, a window or a gate, and mostly at the edge of it and not in full view, has the visual impact of describing fractured lives and broken dreams. We never see the

Box Office Gross

complete story or fully grasp what is going

96%

heads and in the background a building or

Rotten Tomatoes score out of 115 reviews.

on. Pawlikowski shows the very tops of their some piece of furniture. He uses empty space and jump cuts to tell a story. Instead of providing every piece of information to the audience he tells a story by creating gaps visually and through editing. The movie suggests more than it shows.


Oscar–Nominated Film | Page 27

M AND CINEMATOGRAPHY

“[Director Pawel Pawlikowski] filmed Ida in black and white with a 4:3 aspect ratio, narrow framing, and almost completely static shots. ”

His visual choices further underscore the contradictions of the time period, such as jazz clubs in Communist Poland, but also serve as a tool to demonstrate the rhythm of the film and visually manifest the constantly changing emotions of the characters. One example is a scene in which Anna is divided between her wishes to become a nun and her desires to live a normal secular life. Pawlikowski and his director of photography Lukasz Zal show this fork in her life by using a tight telephoto shot that is cut diagonally by a wall in the foreground; the audience sees her disappear and reappear as she moves back and forth between the line, deciding which direction to take in her life. This shot along with others like it attempt to convey certain meanings visually rather than through exposition. There are various silent sequences in the film where we learn more information about the young novice or her aunt without being told about it through dialogue. Amazingly, this is Lukasz Zal’s

Agata Trzebuchowska as young nun Anna in Ida, now nominated for Best Foreign Picture ‘

first feature film as Director of Photography, who was forced to step in when the original Director of Photography fell sick on the first day of shooting. Pawlikowski attempted to contact several other talented cinematographers in Poland, but all were busy except for young Lukasz Zal, who had only worked as a camera operator before this film. He was merely twenty-nine at the time of filming. The movie is a tour de force, captivating the audience with its bold cinematography and its brilliant, subtle acting. Novice actor Agata Trzebokowska, who plays Anna, had never acted in a film prior to Ida, and most likely will not act again in the future. Pawlikowski found her in a café and liked the way she looked and chose Agata even after auditioning hundreds of professional actresses for the part. Pawlikowski has reached the very pinnacle of filmmaking in Ida. Every aspect of the film is perfect; nothing falls short of the viewer’s expectations, especially the film’s ability to create powerful, iconic unforgettable images.


Oscar–Nominated Film | Page 28

Foxcatcher By Seth Younger

On left, Channing Tatum (left) as Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz and Mark Ruffalo (right), now nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Schultz’ brother On right, Steve Carrell

NOMINATED FOR 5 OSCARS, INCLUDING BEST DIRECTOR, ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE, AND SUPPORTING ACTOR

I

f you combined the chilling tone of the movie Black Swan with the

the tense relationship between John DuPont and his mother. After

sports aspects of the movie Coach Carter and put the creation of

the first day at the Olympics, he loses his match and goes to his ho-

these two movies on corticosteroids, then you may get something

tel room, banging his head on glass, eventually binge-eating, and later

that surmounts to the movie Foxcatcher. This movie recounts the

puking it all up. Interestingly, Dave comes and helps his brother. After

frightening story of the Shultz Brothers, who were Olympic wrestlers.

Mark eventually leaves wrestling and the Pennsylvania DuPont estate,

and their experiences with John DuPont, a wrestling coach and famed

his brother, who has remained there, is shot by John DuPont, and his

member of the legendary American DuPont family. The opening scene

mother dies, both of whom entrain the depth of John’s insanity.

gives background about the DuPont family through old family clips of

Based on a real tragedy, Foxcatcher leaves you very frightened.

their training horses then proceeds to document the dim life of Mark

Although some movies may show glimpses of human happiness and

Shultz, revealing slight tensions between him and his brother, Dave

strife, this movie is very dark and tense throughout. Bennet Miller has

Shultz, a coach at the University of Oklahoma. The movie takes a turn

adeptly crafted Foxcatcher with masterful scenes and dialogue, giving

when Mark Shultz gets a call from John DuPont who wants him to

the audience the feeling of being there with the characters every sec-

come down to his Estate to train Mark to participate in the Olympics.

ond. However, it is obvious that Channing Tatum will rack up the Oscar

However, Dave Schultz is immediately doubtful and suspicious as to

for best actor along with Steve Carell for supporting actor.

why this man wants his brother to come down. As Mark is settling in to his new role, the movie reveals the dark side of John DuPont.

Overall, the movie is phenomenal and works to convey what is intended to show, a gut-wrenching story without fluff, and it did so mas-

There are scenes wherein Mark is sexually abused, forced to do co-

terfully. Roger Ebert once said, “We live in a box of space and time.

caine, and later calls John his father. John asks Mark assemble a bunch

Movies are windows in its walls. They allow us to enter other minds,

of men to form a wrestling team to train in his Pennsylvania estate.

not simply in the sense of identifying with the characters, although that

However, after repeated abuses, John reveals that Mark needs his

is an important part of it, but by seeing the world as another person

brother Dave Shultz with him, threatening Mark’s career if he doesn’t

sees it.” This is the effect I believe Foxcatcher has and what makes it

show. After his brother comes down, the movie slows and focuses on

such a phenomenal movie.


Oscar–Nominated Film | Page 29 NOMINATED FOR 9 OSCARS, INCLUDING BEST PICTURE, DIRECTOR, AND ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Owen Wilson as Monsieur Chuck in the Grand Budapest Hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel By Sam Heller

T

he Grand Budapest Hotel is the 8th film Wes Anderson has directed and is arguably his best one. It contains brilliant writing, hilarious visual gags, and a classic plot-

line that he managed to make original. This film takes place in the 1930s and centers around an old-fashioned hotel that is brimming with guests. Most of its guests are not there to enjoy the mountain-top view the Grand Budapest Hotel offers but rather to see its Hotel Manager, Mr. Gustave, who is played by Ralph Fiennes (the Harry Potter series). The character of Mr. Gustave is poetic, witty, and sleeping with the most of the elderly women visitors. When one of these guests dies, Mr. Gustave travels with his newest lobby boy, Zero, to see her. Upon arrival at her estate, Mr. Gustave, not her four children, is promised the woman’s most expensive painting in her will. On account of this, the family frames Mr. Gustave for the woman’s murder. This story is told through the eyes of Zero, the young lobby

9 Oscars. Almost every line uttered

the outside and that the background

boy, who eventually becomes owner of the hotel. While Mr.

by the characters is brilliant, from

looks like a bad drawing. Wes Ander-

Gustave is one of Wes Anderson’s greatest creations, Zero

Mr. Gustave trying to remain poetic

son tries to stray away from using a

lacks the layers of emotions that his boss has. Zero, played

in all that he says through the film

computer for special effects and ul-

by Tony Revolorio (The Perfect Game), and is a taciturn char-

to Zero stating firmly and angrily to

timately uses them for under a min-

acter who shows loyalty to both his boss and his wife Agatha.

his boss to stop flirting with his wife.

ute throughout The Grand Budapest

His speechlessness furthers his characterization, making him a

This film will probably not make you

Hotel. This isn’t laziness or a lack of

fine character, but not nearly as multi-faceted as Mr. Gustave.

laugh as much as an average R-rated

knowledge in computers on his part,

The character who Wes Anderson really gave up on, however,

comedy such as The Hangover or 21

but rather a statement. Wes Ander-

was Agatha, who is a main character that is one-dimensional.

Jump Street, but it is far better than

son wants to make it clear that it is

She is given a small part in the movie yet it seems that the film

these types of films in many ways..

the quality of the story that matters,

attempts to make her one of the protagonists. She only exists

This film also contains many genres

not the quality of the effects.

in the Grand Budapest Hotel as a baker and love interest for

within itself, including comedy, ac-

Overall, this film was great and is

Zero and does not get many lines that reveal her true self, like

tion, mystery, period piece, and ad-

one of the best films that came out

Mr. Gustave gets. While Saoirse Ronan (Atonement) does an

venture. Wes Anderson is known for

in 2014. It has a surprisingly clever

okay job playing the part she is given, she is overshadowed by

doing this, which is what makes his

plotline and was a pleasure to watch.

Ralph Fiennes in every scene the two share, which is most of

movies so great.

While it may have done a bad job

her scenes. What this film lacks in characterization, however, is quickly made up by its plot and writing.

Wes Anderson is also known for

characterizing some of its charac-

his odd special effects. While watch-

ters, the film is still worth a viewing

The writing is amazing and is able to transform the film into a

ing this movie, you might notice that

and will be two great hours of your

comedy that can be taken seriously enough to be nominated for

the hotel looks extremely fake on

life.


Oscar–Nominated Film | Page 30 NOMINATED FOR 2 OSCARS, INCLUDING BEST PICTURE AND ORIGINAL SONG

Selma By Zarina Iman

S

elma, written by Paul Webb and directed by Ava DuVernay, tells

King and President Lyndon B. John-

the story of the events leading up to and surrounding the three

son, who passed the Civil Rights Act,

Selma to Montgomery marches that called for the voting rights

making the segregation of public facil-

of all African Americans in Alabama. Though the film is one of the first to focus on Dr. Martin Luther King (David Oyelowo), Selma is not a biopic. The film does not focus on all of the key parts of Dr. King’s life, but instead revolves around the voting rights movement and all those involved. Selma begins with Dr. King and his wife, Coretta Scott King (Carmen Ejogo) in Oslo, where he accepts his Nobel Peace Prize. The film then cuts to a shot of four young girls descening the stairs of their church. The peaceful scene is briskly interrupted by a tremendous blast, followed by silence. The debris and a young girl’s legs gradually fly through the air. The next image we see is a large pile of rubble covering the girls, as small flakes of cloth and dirt flutter to the ground. This re-enactment of the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing clearly establishes the context of the confrontations to come. The viewers are then shown Annie Lee Cooper (Oprah Winfrey), a working-class black woman, who is attempting to become a registered voter in Alabama. She fills out a form and then is called to a booth where a registrar must determine if she is eligible to vote. The racist white clerk asks her difficult questions about the state and government to determine if she should be allowed to vote. Cooper, who has

Numbers Selma was released to commerate the 50th anniversary of the march

$20m

ities illegal. Dr. King asserts that loopholes allow racist politicians to disenfranchise black voters, even when they hold the right to vote. Johnson dismisses Dr. King and tells him that he has larger problems to deal with. For the remainder of the film, Selma

Production Budget

focuses on the three marches from

$47m

building. Knowing that the local gov-

Domestic Gross

2

Oscar Nominations: Best Picture and Best Original Song

Selma to the Montgomery’s capitol ernment or people will oppose the march and will fight the protesters, Dr. King plans to nonviolently march in front of as many reporters and cameras as possible. The outcome of the first two protest are as Dr. King predicted, and the second march re-

prepared, is able to answer the questions, except the clerk’s final trick

sults in an astonishing re-enactment

question that is impossible to answer. The clerk then happily denies

of Bloody Sunday, March 7, 1965. The

her the right to vote.

camera movement of the marches

Before the actual marches we are brought to meeting between Dr.

give viewers a protester’s perspec-


Oscar–Nominated Film | Page 31

tive, as if they were a part of the events unfolding before them. The camera lingers on differ-

From Selma To Montgomery Large picture on left: David Oyelowo playing Martin Luther King, Jr.

ent marchers, showing the fear in their faces. By reducing movement, the camera establishes the chaos and destruction of the scene in a genuine way. David Oyelowo humanizes Dr. King in his amazing performance. He captured the great leader’s commanding persona, as well as his sincere interactions with close friends and family. Oyelowo conveys how Dr. King reacts

David Oyelowo humanizes Dr. King in his amazing performance. He captured the great leader’s commanding persona, as well as his sincere interactions with close friends and family. Oyelowo conveys how Dr. King reacts in different situations, when he is not giving speeches and in public.

in different situations, when he is not giving speeches and in public. David Oyelowo in convincing beyond belief, and he truly deserves all his nominations and then some. Selma takes on even more relevance because it coincided with the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, demonstrating that the message of the film is still relevant today. We realize that it was only a mere 50 years ago that black people had to fight for the right to

vote and that if Dr. King were still alive he

how with unity and persistence the march-

would be 86, around the age of our grand-

ers from Selma to Montgomery were able

parents.

to overcome adversity and obtain the right

Selma is inspiring. It is not only a tells the tale of one of the most important chapters of the civil rights movement, but it shows

to vote.


Oscar–Nominated Film | Page 32 NOMINATED FOR 9 OSCARS, INCLUDING BEST PICTURE, DIRECTOR, ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Birdman

By Lorenzo Brogi-Skoskiewicz


Oscar–Nominated Film | Page 33

“Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player / That struts and frets his hour upon the stage / And then is heard no more.” - Macbeth (Scene V) [Quoted in Birdman]

B

irdman is the fifth movie directed by

seem like the entire movie is shot in one take,

ter make the character seem very relatable.

Mr. Iñárritu, and it just may be his best.

similar to Alfred Hitchock’s Rope. By doing

However, Keaton is just bursting through the

The Spanish director has made some

so, he makes the camera the main character,

frame with energy, and he deserves an Oscar

fantastic movies in his home country but Bird-

and it constantly rotates as if we were there

for his work in this movie. The truly remarka-

man marks the first time he is directing an

watching with it. The camera movement also

ble thing about the movie is that the true main

American movie. The movie tells the story of

works perfectly to capture the cramped space

character in the movie is the camera. It is not

Riggan Thompson, a once world-famous actor

of the backstage theatre and creates a sense

Riggan Thompson or any of the other sup-

who played the superhero Birdman, who has

of claustrophobia within the characters them-

porting roles; instead the swoops and turns

fallen into obscurity and is trying to put up a

selves. Emma Stone and Edward Norton steal

that the camera makes changes the perspec-

broadway play to revive his career. The true

the show and provide great supporting char-

tive in which we see the movie and places the

marvel in this movie is the cinematography

acters; however, it’s really Michael Keaton

audience right into the movie.

and the acting. Mr. Iñárritu has pulled off a

who shines as Riggan Thompson. The paral-

remarkable technical achievement, making it

lels between Keaton’s career and his charac-


Oscar–Nominated Film | Page 34


Oscar–Nominated Film | Page 35

Whiplash

By Lorenzo Brogi-Skoskiewicz NOMINATED FOR 5 OSCARS, INCLUDING BEST PICTURE, SUPPORTING ACTOR, AND ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

A

nd the number one movie of the year is in fact Whiplash. The first movie from young director Damien Chazelle is so full of raucous

energy that it’s just impossible to not like this movie. The movie tells the story of Andrew (Miles Teller), a young drummer at a prestigious music school who joins the jazz-band class, taught by the notorious Terrence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), whose methods involve throwing cymbals at people’s heads and pushing them to the very limit both physically and emotionally. Andrew is determined to be the very best and devotes his entire time to doing exactly what Fletcher wants and following his every instruction. The movie is directed with such passion and excitement that every image merges together like a small symphony. The editing and sound editing are also fantastic, cut with such vivacity that every single shot feels different from the rest. The music is so perfectly merged with Andrew’s energy and Fletcher’s ruthlessness that it is easy to just sit back in amazement at the reckless pace the movie sets for itself. However, the real standout of this movie is J.K Simmons, who delivers the best performance this year by any actor or actress. His Fletcher commands every inch of the screen, and he switches with ease from caring professor to enraged psychopath in seconds. Not only is he laugh out loud hysterical, but he also shows real emotion and sadness in a couple scenes and he truly makes the movie. Miles Teller is also very good; however, he is completely overshadowed by Simmons even when he’s not in the scene. The movie also does have an interesting meaning and asks “at what cost does greatness come?” For example, as Andrew dives deeper into drumming, he loses his girlfriend and becomes distant from his father, but starts to question if it is all really worth it. The final 10 minutes of the movie are a joy to behold and make you hold your breath in both excitement and fear. It is by far the best scene of this whole year from by far the best movie of the year.


Oscar–Nominated Film | Page 36

Boyhood

by Evan Greene NOMINATED FOR 6 OSCARS, INCLUDING BEST PICTURE, DIRECTOR, AND SUPPORTING ACTRESS

T

here is a great deal of talk about the new movie, Boyhood, as it

did looks into the trials and successes of

seems to be one of the surprise blockbusters of the year. Di-

a creative young man’s journey through

rected by Richard Linklater, the movie follows the life of a young

life’s many crucial milestones. In fact, each

boy, Mason Evans (Ellar Coltrane), as he grows up in real time from the

situation in the movie shows real life ex-

age of six. Released at the end of the summer, many fans and critics are

amples of how Mason grows up and faces

claiming that it is the best picture of the year. Boyhood has quietly be-

adversity. We watch as he sees his mother

come the movie that people should not miss.

struggle to provide for the family and go

Boyhood was filmed over a twelve-year span and captures the growth of a boy Mason Evans, played by Ellar Coltrane, as he faces life’s problems. The boy’s life is craftily documented as he matures into a freshman going off to college. The plot authentically traces the path of Mason’s adolescence with his single mother Olivia, (Patricia Arquette) and his sister Samantha (Laura Linklater). Boyhood does a gut-wrenching job of depicting Mason’s growth as he struggles in school in conjunction with his father’s inconsistent parenting and his mother’s constant personal catastrophes. There is a vivid scene where father and son take a camping trip and divulge moving secrets and advice on how to handle their relationships with others. Many parts of the movie provide can-

Moviegoers are left sitting in their seats wondering how they might personally handle many of the issues the boy faces

back to school to get an education. We see him deal with an intriguing girlfriend who at times drives him crazy. Moviegoers are left sitting in their seats wondering how they might personally handle many of the same issues that the boy faces. Because of Ellar Coltrane’s brilliant performance, audience members really feel like they can relate to Mason. Mason’s life is shaped by his struggles to maintain a healthy relationship with


Oscar–Nominated Film | Page 37

“The fact that the movie was filmed intermittently for 12 years makes it seem real, as if the characters truly grow up in front of your eyes.”

his family. Mason’s father, performed by Ethan Hawke, battles to try

ing by Patricia Arquette and Lorelei Linklater, who jive perfectly with

to stay in touch with his estranged son, as he moves from city to city.

Ellar Coltrane, capture a unique and special chemistry of a family gone

Finally, when his mother dates and remarries, Mason has to deal with

adrift. The movie traces the family from Mason’s elementary school

an entirely new family and the trials of getting along with a completely

years to his journey to college, with the characters adding humor to

foreign parenting style. His stepfather becomes a violent drunk and is

life’s constant aggravations. The audience finds itself saying, “Wow this

excessively brutal to the children in many graphic scenes.

boy is really resilient,” or, “I wouldn’t have done that!”

Indeed, many of the most emotional moments in Boyhood occur

Finally, besides the fact that the viewers can relate to the idea that

during the tear-jerking scenes shared between Mason and his fam-

family comes first, the plot’s overarching message and movie’s tone

ily. Camping with his father, and the precious moments he has with

make you feel lucky about your own life and happy to face everyday

his sister and mother strike a chord of realism. Every day is a fight to

obstacles. And although they are divorced, we realize that fathers who

deal with life’s obstacles and unrelenting problems. The fact that the

may not get to live with their children everyday can be just as close, as

movie was filmed intermittently for 12 years makes it seem real, as if

exemplified in the snapshots of Mason Jr. and his father enjoying ado-

the characters truly grow up in front of your eyes. We watch Mason

lescent road trips, dinners, birthdays, holiday celebrations and gradu-

come into his own, figuring out that being a parent is not an easy job.

ations. By the end of the movie, the viewer feels like he or she knows

He also begins to share adult responsibility for his family, taking care of

that although life may be hard, there is so much to enjoy and cherish.

his mother and sister during their hard times. Each character is able to claim a space for himself and evoke the viewer’s own childhood memories. What I enjoyed the most was the way the boy takes emotional and financial care of his sister and his mother even at the cost of shelving his own priorities. The talented act-


The Oscars | Page 38

The Academy Awards Voting Process By Jasmine Katz

L

Last year’s Academy Awards marked the most watched entertainment telecast in 10 years. 43 million viewers tuned in to watch the most famous stars in the most ornate attire receive the most esteemed awards. But one of the less overt aspects of the Oscars is who actually votes for the nominees. When winners thank the Academy, whom are they referring to? The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences is an organization composed of 7,000 members in 17 different branches, including actors, directors, writers, costume designers, and composers. Academy members review new candidates once a year. In order to be a successful candidate, the applicant must be sponsored by two existing Academy members of the branch to which they are applying. According to the Academy’s website, sponsors must vow that their

Behind Closed Doors The voting process behind the Academy Awards is often viewed as secretive. The committee however is transparent about its demographics, which many believe do not accurately reflect movie–goers.

candidate has “demonstrated exceptional achievement in the field of theatrical motion pictures” and write a letter of recommendation.

forward to see a greater cultural diversity among all our nominees in

Oscar nominees are automatically considered for membership and

all of our categories.”

do not need to be sponsored. Candidates receive an invitation to

The root of the lack of diversity in nominees lies in a practice just

membership when they are approved by their Branch Executive

as mysterious as the membership of the Academy: the voting process

Committee and the Board of Governors, which spans all 17 branches.

of the awards. To be eligible for nomination, films must adhere to a

Research done in preparation for the 2014 Academy Awards

strict set of guidelines. For example, to be eligible for Best Picture, a

found that the Academy was 76% male and 93% white, with an av-

film must be longer than 40 minutes, it must have premiered publicly

erage age of 63. Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the first black president of the

in a movie theater, and it must have played in a Los Angeles theater

Academy, has attempted to diversify the group, but change is gradual.

for seven consecutive days, to name a few preliminary requirements.

Especially with this year’s snub of Selma’s David Oyelowo and Ava

Producers who would like their films to be considered for nomina-

DuVernay, as well as the release of an all-white list of acting nomi-

tion submit an Official Screen Credits form. After submissions for

nations, the Academy’s diversity been thrown into the limelight. “In

nominations are collected in late December, Academy members vote

the last two years, we’ve made greater strides than we ever have in

for nominations in their respective categories, with the exception of

the past toward becoming a more diverse and inclusive organization

Best Picture candidates, which are voted on by all Academy mem-

though admitting new members and more inclusive classes of mem-

bers. Voting consists of selecting five to ten potential nominees and

bers,” Boone Isaacs said. “And personally, I would love to see and look

ranking them in order of preference. About a week after nominees


The Oscars | Page 39

who votes

7,000 members composed of Actors Directors Writers Designers Composers

Editors Executives Producers Hairstylists Cinematographers

93% white

76% male are publicly announced, final polls are sent to Academy members, who have two weeks to submit their votes. Unlike nominations voting, final balloting allows voters to vote for all categories. Although the Academy prefers its members to vote only in categories they are familiar with, there is no way to prevent voters from voting in categories where they have not seen all of the films. The issue of uninformed

63

average age

voting marks one of the many obstacles to overcome in achieving a fair process. A second issue is biased voting. “There were people voting for friends and their films in a reciprocal manner,� an Academy member said. The Oscars hold a special place in the hearts of filmgoers across the country. The event is trusted as the definitive source on film excellence. However, while enjoying the glamorous display of celebrities, fashion, and, of course, the awards, keep in mind what happens beneath the surface.

Cheryl Boone Issacs Cheryl Boone Issacs is the first black president of the Academy. The Academy as a whole, however, lacks true diversity.


The Oscars | Page 40

Harris the Host By Christina Cho & Kaileen Germain

I

n 1929, the Academy decided that Douglas Fairbanks and William

Ellen DeGeneres, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Chris Rock to pass up the

C. DeMille would emcee the first Oscars. Ever since, the Academy

opportunity to host this year.

has exhausted every possible combination of hosts to amuse audi-

After those three rejections, the Academy had turned to Harris who

ences: one host, two hosts, three hosts, four hosts, five hosts, six hosts,

immediately jumped at the opportunity and shared, “It is truly an hon-

funny hosts, serious hosts, young hosts, old hosts, you name it! Despite

or and a thrill to be asked to host this year’s Academy Awards. I grew

efforts, no host has ever been or will ever be guaranteed to be able to

up watching the Oscars and was always in such awe of some of the

keep live viewers from 225 countries glued to their screens for over

greats who hosted the show. To be asked to follow in the footsteps of

three hours. In fact, disappointing viewers is the very fear that keeps

Johnny Carson, Billy Crystal, Ellen DeGeneres, and everyone else who

hosts from hosting again. According to moviefone, “the job requires a

had the great fortune of hosting is a bucket list dream come true.”

difficult and rare set of skills: a host must entertain both the Hollywood

Harris was the perfect choice for hosting the Oscars. Neil Patrick

big-shots in the auditorium and regular folks at home. They can poke

Harris is no foreigner when it comes to hosting awards. He’s hosted

fun at the huge egos in the room, but can’t deflate them with too much

the Tony Awards on Broadway 4 times, winning several Emmy awards

snark, and they can’t be too inside-baseball. They may also have to take

for doing so. He has also hosted the Primetime Emmy Awards twice.

focus away from outside events, from talent strikes to wars and assas-

Moreover, he certainly has the skills needed to captivate and entertain

sinations that threaten to darken the celebratory mood. Most of all,

audiences at the Oscars. He’s made us laugh for years with his role on

they have to think quickly on their feet.” Such pressure that piggybacks

the hit TV show How I Met Your Mother as the hilarious, legendary

the excitement of hosting the Oscars is so extreme that it convinced

Barney Stinson. But Neil Patrick Harris has proven countless times that he’s not just a great comedian. Expanding and growing as an actor, Harris has demonstrated his many talents. He has dazzled on the big screen with non-comedic movies like Clara’s Heart and Starship Troopers. He has shocked us with his musical prowess in Rent and Hedwig and the Angry Inch. He sobered us up with his somber role in Gone Girl and even creeped us out as a guest star in American Horror Story. There is no question that he is extremely versatile. An American actor, writer, producer, director, magician, comedian, and singer, Harris has shown us that he quite literally can do anything. And now he can add Oscar host to the list. From his previous hosting jobs, hosting the Emmys and the Tony Awards, you pretty much know what to expect, because an awards show with Neil Patrick Harris can’t be one without an extravagant performance to kick off the show. No doubt Neil Patrick Harris will sweep us off our feet with a fantastic song and dance number with dancers filling the stage and bright lights flashing. Undaunted, Harris will most definitely dazzle the world with the wit he showed in Spider-Man and will perform opening numbers like the ones he did in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. There will, without a doubt, be lots of jokes, whether they make you cringe or laugh out loud. He’ll make us laugh and cry as he lives out his dream of hosting the Oscars. Because one thing is for sure: with Neil Patrick Harris hosting the Oscars, there will never be

NEIL PATRICK HARRIS HOSTING THE 2013 EMMY AWARDS

a dull moment.


The Oscars | Page 41

The Origins of the Oscar Statuette By Amika Choudhury

T

he Academy Awards, aka The Oscars, is the most renowned film award ceremony today. For over 80 years, the ceremony has recognized the most distinguishable of

talents. From cinematography to original score, The Oscars celebrate everything that makes movies great. Naturally, for such an esteemed award show, there needs to be a statuette worthy of equal esteem. Designed by MGM art director Cedric Gibbons and sculpted by George Stanley, the statuette stands 13 ½ inches tall, weighs around 8 ½ pounds, and was originally made of gold-plated bronze. After a couple of years the bronze was replaced by britannia metal, an alloy plated in copper, nickel, silver, and 24-karat gold. In World War II, a metal shortage replaced the original gold plated figure with painted plaster for three years. Several years after the shortage, the Academy invited the painted plaster Oscar recipients to replace their figures for gold- gold plated ones. The Oscar illustrates a knight holding a crusader’s sword while standing on a film reel with five spokes. Each spoke represent one of the five original branches of the Academy: Actors, Writers, Producers, Directors, and Technicians. Though the statuette has always kept its original design, the size of its base varied until 1945. Originally called the Academy Award of Merit, the origins of the name that the statuette later adopted, the Oscar, are not clear. According to the most popular explanation, Margaret Herrick, hired as the Academy librarian in 1931, thought that the figure resembled her uncle Oscar. The popularity of the name was well established by 1934, when Hollywood columnist Sidney Skolsky used it while referring to Katherine Hepburn’s first award for Best Actress. The Academy officially adopted the name in 1939. This name and this figure have since symbolized the highest achievements in the film industry.


The Oscars | Page 42

Oscar Snubs and Surprises By Matt Parker

T

his year’s Oscar nominations came and went without too much

Best Actress for her work in Two Days, One Night was a sneaky inclu-

drama, but there were a few key snubs. Some of the biggest and

sion after she was snubbed at the Golden Globes, and Wes Anderson

most popular movies of the year didn’t get nearly enough nom-

was finally nominated in the Directing category.

inations, and there was a disheartening lack of diversity in choices for best actor, actress, and director.

Of course, there was a more serious theme underlying some omissions this year. There were zero people of color nominated in the main

One snub was the omission of The Lego Movie. While this movie

categories of Actor, Actress, and Director, including in supporting

was clearly not an Oscar frontrunner for best picture, it was a really

roles. There were also no female directors nominated. Some claim that

great movie with lots of comedy, emotion, and a great twist at the end.

this is not an issue, and point to Selma’s nomination (one of two) for

It received a 96% on Rotten Tomatoes and the most popular animat-

Best Picture. While it is good to see a movie directed by a black wom-

ed movie of the year, with appeal to all ages. Unfortunately, The Lego

an about the Civil Rights movement in the Best Picture category, it is

Movie was only recognized for one category – best original song. The

almost ironic that there was so little diversity in the nominations. The

movie, while having some tough competition for winning Animated

nominations are far too white for one movie to “cancel out” the lack of

Feature Film in a strong group, at least deserved a nomination.

diversity in the other categories.

Additionally, Chris Pratt’s other wildly popular, critically acclaimed

Some of this is because Hollywood is still run by white men. It re-

movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, was only nominated for Makeup and

mains difficult for women and people of color to be successful in Hol-

Hairstyle and Visual Effects. The movie was fantastic, enjoyed equally

lywood. As we saw by the leaked Sony emails, women are paid less in

by viewers and critics, and was the second highest grossing movie in

their movies and black actors are passed over or considered for a part

the US in 2014 (Lego Movie was #4). Chris Pratt’s performance was

based on their skin color. The fact that there is no diversity in our mov-

excellent, as were most of the other characters in the movie, and the

ies is bad not only for the industry, but for America. For the industry,

music, while being made up of old songs, was also fantastic. Unfortu-

the lack of diversity will cause Hollywood to decline. We all know that

nately, despite Chris Pratt’s success in the box office and our hearts

diversity breeds new ideas and creativity. Without black and female

this past year, Pratt will not be winning an Oscar this year.

directors, Hollywood will become more cliché than it already is. The

Interstellar could also be considered a snub, although it did grab five

lack of diversity is worse for America, as it feeds into the white priv-

nominations. It missed out in the cinematography category, which is a

ileged society we have today. When our theaters are only showing

shame as the movie was beautiful. It was a long shot for Best Picture,

white actors in movies directed by white men, and we are recogniz-

but it could have made the cut, as the Oscars declined to include a sci-

ing ZERO black actors, actresses, or directors at the biggest awards

ence fiction movie, a common theme at the show. Interstellar gathered

show for movies in America, the people get the idea, subconscious or

mixed reviews, but Christopher Nolan’s style shone through in this

not, that white people are more important, and that is why they are on

space epic, and he could have gotten a nod as Best Director. Interstel-

our screens. The reality is that Hollywood, like many places in America,

lar was one of the best science fiction movies of recent years, and while

still has a ways to go in terms of giving equal opportunity to all races,

it reminded people of 2001, it had it’s own flavor that should have won

and the Oscars show the sad state of affairs in Hollywood. At the very

it a few of the bigger nominations.

least, the Oscars should be showcasing the standout black members

Some other movies and actors missed out, as Gone Girl was only rec-

of the film industry, like Ava DuVernay, who managed to tell the sto-

ognized through actress Rosamund Pike. The movie was a great adap-

ry of Selma with grace and without diving into a clichéd message. Just

tation of the popular book, and many thought David Fincher would get

because 12 Years a Slave won best picture last year does not give the

a nod in the Best Director category. The majority of the nominations

Oscar committee a “pass” on black movies in 2014.

were not too surprising, with Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel

This years snubs show that Hollywood, despite still coming out with

sweeping most of the categories with 9 nominations each, although

some great movies, needs to diversify for its own sake and for Amer-

there were a few pleasant surprises. Marion Cotillard’s nomination for

ica’s.


The Oscars | Page 43

THE LEGO MOVIE

SELMA

INTERSTELLAR

THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL

GONE GIRL

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY

TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT

BIRDMAN


The Oscars | Page 44

Predictions for the 87th Annual Academy Awards By Kenneth Shinozuka For the full list of Kenneth’s predictions, please visit his blog, www.oneminutereviews.org BEST PICTURE

NOMINATED Boyhood Birdman The Imitation Game Selma The Grand Budapest Hotel The Theory of Everything American Sniper Whiplash

B

30% 29% 15% 13% 7% 3% 2% 1%

oyhood was widely expected to win this category after sweep-

ly tight race for Best Picture. Both films certainly deserve the award;

ing the early awards circuit and gaining momentum from the

Birdman combines a remarkably creative screenplay with ground-

Golden Globe Awards, where it triumphed in the Best Drama

breaking cinematography, while Boyhood makes film history with its

category. However, the tides seemed to have turned. In late January,

12-year shooting period. I still think that, in spite of Birdman’s recent

Birdman won the Darryl F. Zanuck Award in the Producers Guild

victories, Boyhood will still edge it out in the race for Best Picture. By

Awards, which often predicts the film that takes home the Oscar stat-

tracking the development of a character in real time, Boyhood achieves

uette for Best Picture. Furthermore, Birdman has picked up significant

an unprecedented sense of realism, depicting the process of growing

victories in the Screen Actors Guild and Directors Guild Awards, po-

up in a sincere and unequivocally honest way. In the end, it may be eas-

tentially demonstrating that Academy voters are beginning to favor it

ier for voters to relate to Boyhood’s universal scenes of a boy bonding

over Boyhood.

with his father and kindling his first romance than Birdman’s arcane

Hence, Birdman and Boyhood have become locked in an extremeBEST DIRECTOR

philosophical themes.

A

gain, an extremely close race between Boyhood and Birdman. Linklater was a lock for this category until Iñárritu won the best di-

rector award at the Director’s Guild Awards, whose voters comprise a large portion of the Academy

NOMINATED Richard Linklater (Boyhood) Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Birdman) Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel) Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game) Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher)

members that determine the Best Director winner 40% 38% 15% 5% 2%

at the Oscars. Iñárritu’s technical mastery – he shot his entire movie as if it were filmed in one take – will certainly pick up votes from the auteurs among the Academy’s voters. Nonetheless, Linklater’s decision to follow the growth of his main character in real time is surely one of the gutsiest moves ever in the history of cinema, and his unembellished, candid direction is indicative of his film’s total freedom from Hollywood’s banalities and contrivances.


The Oscars | Page 45 BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

NOMINATED Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) Michael Keaton (Birdman) Bradley Cooper (American Sniper) Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game) Steve Carell (Foxcatcher)

E

ddie Redmayne’s performance as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything won him the Screen Actors Guild award for best actor,

and it may lead to his victory in the Best Actor catego-

35% 30% 20% 10% 5%

ry at the Oscars. In my opinion, Keaton deserves the award more for fully channeling the existential crisis of his character, but Redmayne’s role may seem more difficult to Academy voters because of the complete physical transformation that it required. While his performance does not grant us full insight into Hawking’s sheer genius, he uncannily embodies the physicist’s idiosyncrasies and may bring tears to the eyes of some Academy voters who admired his nobility in spite of the debilitating effects that he suffered as a result of his motor neuron disease.

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

W

hile “Best Actress” is not this year’s most

NOMINATED

predictable category by any measure, it is difficult to imagine anybody else win-

ning but Julianne Moore. She won the Screen Actors Guild award for best actress, which typically indicates the winner of the corresponding award at the Oscars. Her heart-wrenching performance conveys the severe emotional pain that Alzheimer’s exacts on its patients. Although Marion Cotillard has won the most awards on the circuit out of the five nominated ac-

35% 25% 20% 10% 10%

Julianne Moore (Still Alice) Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything) Reese Witherspoon (Wild) Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night)

tresses, her film hasn’t achieved sufficient popularity yet among Academy voters. BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

NOMINATED J.K. Simmons (Whiplash) Edward Norton (Birdman) Ethan Hawke (Boyhood) Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher) Robert Duvall (The Judge)

J

65% 15% 10% 5% 5%

.K. Simmons delivered the best performance of his career and

performances out of his students. Any other winner in this category

of the year in Whiplash as an unapologetic and ruthless jazz

would be one of the biggest upsets of the awards ceremony.

teacher who will resort to any means to exact the best possible


The Oscars | Page 46 BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

NOMINATED Patricia Arquette (Boyhood) Emma Stone (Birdman) Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game) Laura Dern (Wild) Meryl Streep (Into the Woods)

70% 15% 10% 3% 2%

T

here is no foreseeable scenario in which Patricia Arquette does

formance as Mason Jr.’s mother in Boyhood serves as an emotional

not win this category. She has won practically every important

anchor in the film and creates a sense of constancy in his changing life.

supporting actress award on the circuit this year, and her per-

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

E

comedy, profound wisdom, and penetrating social commentary. Iñárritu’s screenplay is one of the most daring examples of creativity in Hollywood to-

day, transcending the bounds of traditional storytelling.

NOMINATED Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo (Birdman) Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness (The Grand Budapest Hotel) Richard Linklater (Boyhood) Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler) E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman (Foxcatcher)

ven Wes Anderson’s quirkiness is no match for Iñárritu’s sharp wit, acerbic

40% 30% 15% 10% 5%

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

G

35%

first-time effort bursts with such energy

20%

NOMINATED

raham Moore’s rich, multi-layered script may win the favor of some Academy voters, but

Damien Chazelle’s breathlessly paced that it’s difficult to deny it the win in this category. (By the way, Chazelle’s screenplay is actually an original effort, and many were puzzled when it was nominated in the adapted category.)

30%

13% 2%

Damien Chazelle (Whiplash) Graham Moore (The Imitation Game) Jason Hall (American Sniper) Paul Thomas Anderson (Inherent Vice) Anthony McCarten (The Theory of Everything)


The Oscars | Page 47 BEST ANIMATED FILM

NOMINATED How to Train Your Dragon 2 Big Hero 6 The Boxtrolls The Tale of the Princess Kaguya Song of the Sea

70% 15% 10% 3% 2%

BEST DOCUMENTARY

NOMINATED Citizenfour Finding Vivian Maier The Salt of the Earth Last Days in Vietnam Virunga

80% 10% 5% 3% 2%

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE

NOMINATED Ida Leviathan Wild Tales Timbuktu Tangerines

45% 35% 10% 3% 2%


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The Oscars Issue, 2015