Well, I finished all 8. It was looking pretty hairy for bit there, but I made myself nice and lazy this weekend and finished my “quest”. I’m proud… probably shouldn’t be, but I am. Go me. Without further adieu, here are my official Oscars predictions, sure to be wrong, in categories I feel qualified enough to make predictions in… along with who I’d vote for and the current GoldDerby.com front runners (well, as I write this at 5:30pm). Follow the jump for my picks!
Of all eight films I watched for this year’s Oscars, The Theory of Everything might be the most surprising to me. I hadn’t heard all that much buzz about the film, so, frankly, I was expecting a run-of-the-mill biopic, maybe something that tries to do/be too much and ultimately just existing. Instead, however, I was absolutely blown away by it. The film paints a gorgeous portrait of the relationship between Stephen and Jane Hawking and how the terrible ALS took on both of them. Eddie Redmayne’s performance is nothing shot of spectacular, simultaneously heartbreaking and inspiring, never not charming. The film also looks absolutely wonderful, using just enough stylization to look different but not distract.
I specifically left both The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything until the end, in case I didn’t get around to watching all 8 films this year…. turns out I might have left (my personal) best for last. Come back around 8pm to see if that’s a statement or a tease!
When I wrote my review of American Sniper, I wrote that I do not like war films. I feel like I should clarify that… films about war, I generally don’t like; films that use war as a backdrop, even as a major setting, I can get behind. For me, American Sniper was as much (if not more) about war as it was about Chris Kyle. The Imitation Game is very much about World War II, but not a war film.
I make that distinction because, in a way, the two films are very, very similar for me, even beyond the whole “biopic of a war hero” angle… both films feature absolutely superb performances by their leading men that work on every single level possible; both films use their female leads just about right for the story they ultimately tell, but I want more of each of them; both films are well written, well presented, well directed… both films tell important stories that need to be told, while simultaneously telling a different story in fewer words that is important in a different way.
Is the difference between the films my own personal bias? Maybe. Probably. I don’t know. Is it even fair to link the two films together? Probably not. I don’t know. But what I do know is that The Imitation Game affected me in more ways that American Sniper, even with all their similarities.
I don’t want to spoil later posts (if all goes according to plan, I should be posting my Oscars picks at show time!)… but let’s just say there’s a reason I broke my self-imposed word limit to write about The Imitation Game.
I really, really wanted to love this film. I’d heard all the reviews and saw all the accolades… but I don’t share the sentiment. I am absolutely fascinated by the way the film was done… but for me, that very concept is the film’s undoing. The problem is that the life depicted just wasn’t all that interesting or fascinating to me. I fully acknowledge that that may well be the point of it all, but it just didn’t work for me. Fantastic leading performances, though.
I’m not a war film fan. It’s a personal bias that I struggle with whenever I see a film like American Sniper…. and unfortunately, this is a time where the bias wins.
The film is well done. Chris Kyle’s story is a great one, the performances top notch, the writing great, the direction spot-on. All good… but I just couldn’t get into the war aspects of it. I wanted more of the family stuff, less of the ‘greatest country on Earth’ stuff. It’s my own bias, I know, I can see the film having many fans… unfortunately I’m not one.
Now here was a movie I thoroughly enjoyed. Well, mostly…. not being a musician, I feel like some of the really solo musical segments were lost on me (as they are when I go to concerts, to be honest). But everything else? Absolutely fantastic, with truly superb performances from both Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons (the latter of which the obvious and much-deserved front-runner for the Oscar). Don’t think I could recommend this film enough for jazz lovers and non-lovers alike.
I wanted to love this film – a film that combines superheroes and Broadway in a way that doesn’t involve U2? Sign me up! The performances are fantastic, the dialogue even better. I really enjoyed the surreal nature of the film. The one-shot concept of the film was really different (though ultimately turned gimmicky). I really enjoyed the journey the film brings you on… but I don’t know. All the parts are there, but I don’t sit here thinking “wow, I loved that.” Can’t put my finger on why.