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Coast guide to the 2015 Oscar nominees 

A tale told through film reviews

click to enlarge Boyhood? Boyhood.
  • Boyhood? Boyhood.

Don't have any bon mots about the 2015 Oscar nominees to impress your buddies with? Here's some! Please note: Not all films were reviewed, because we are not made of film reviewers, guys. And you know nothing in the "documentary short subject" category even came here.

Animated Feature Film:
Big Hero 6
Song of the Sea
The Tale of Princess Kaguya
The Boxtrolls
How to Train Your Dragon 2
"HTTYD2 is as fun a ride as it is a heartfelt story about family responsibility, friendship, loyalty and, like, following your dragon bliss, man. Top notch sequel action." —Lindsay Raining Bird

Documentary Feature:
CitizenFour
"As someone who has zero problem with more video cameras in the streets, eyerolls at the IT guy about multiple backups and laughs at the idea that someone would ever consider this a smart identity to steal—hope you know something about debt consolidation, dinks—a movie like Citizenfour appears, at its outset, to be nerd paranoia with a budget. It’s actually the scariest horror movie in recent memory, revealing that everything The X-Files told you about the US government is true, that you don’t know a thing, and any resistors will be forced to live in hiding in rural goddamn Russia." —Tara Thorne
Finding Vivian Maier
Last Days In Vietnam
The Salt of the Earth
Virunga

Documentary Short Subject:
Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
Joanna
Our Curse
The Reaper
White Earth

Film Editing:
American Sniper
Boyhood
"You've never seen anything like it before, and you never will again. An astonishing achievement in a career packed with them."—TT
The Grand Budapest Hotel
"If Miranda July or Sofia Coppola directed this movie it would be dismissed as twee piffle. Instead there’s a line down Quinpool Road every night."—TT
The Imitation Game
Whiplash
"This is not a music movie—the numbers are dense and joyless—it’s a sports movie, and a very assured one for a guy clearly reaching for the stars himself."—TT

Original Song:
"Everything Is Awesome," The LEGO Movie
"There's a third-act fourth-wall break that is so smart and perfect it feels like a dream, but it's not—this is a lovingly, thoughtfully crafted film. A delightful surprise."—TT
"Grateful," Beyond the Lights
"I'm Not Gonna Miss You," Glen Campbell...I'll Be Me
"Lost Stars", Begin Again
"If you’re a sensitive artist type struggling with the idea of personal branding this would be a good thing to check out. Trigger warning: Adam Levine."—TT
“Glory,” Selma

Production Design:
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
"It’s mostly dudes doing math (“historically accurate!” —commenters) but Keira Knightley does what she can with Joan Clarke, Turing’s intellectual equal and near-beard. Directed by Norway’s Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game somehow makes manually breaking code thrilling—even when it’s just a lot of British guys yelling and holding doors shut"—TT
Interstellar
Into the Woods
Mr. Turner

Animated Short Film:
The Bigger Picture
The Dam Keeper
Feast
Me and My Moulton
A Single Life

Live Action Short Film:
Aya
Boogaloo and Graham
Butter Lamp
Parvaneh
The Phone Call

Sound Editing:
American Sniper
Birdman
"Even the movie doesn’t seem to know what it wants Thomas to do—a new Birdman, Broadway forever?—and an asshole critic’s speech about how he can’t just walk from set to stage and expect to be respected is harsh but also completely fair. Lots to unpack, lots to enjoy."—TT
The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies
Interstellar
Unbroken

Sound Mixing:
American Sniper
Birdman
Interstellar
Unbroken
Whiplash

Visual Effects:
Captain America: Winter Soldier
"Chris Evans—seriously, where are the movie stars?—is Cap, who's been tasked to take down some terrorists with the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), which sets off a chain of events so convoluted and so requiring of backstory knowledge that a non-believer just waits for this interminable 2h18m kaboom to fade out. (Something about killing 20 million people to save seven billion?)"—TT
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
"Decimated in the first two minutes by the Simian Flu, everyone’s dead except CDC agent Keri Russell (the only human female speaking part in the film...needless to say the virus hit us hard, ladies), Fringe’s Kirk Acevedo (the asshole who smacks a baby chimp and almost single-handedly starts the fated war), unapologetic bigot Gary Oldman and “why can’t we all just get along” Malcolm (Jason Clarke)."—LRB

Guardians of the Galaxy
Interstellar
X-Men: Days of Future Past "But 1973 is a waterbed-stabbing good time, featuring a wonderful stop-motion sequence starring Evan Peters (Quicksilver), Wolverine’s naked butt for no reason, some cool leather jackets and Magneto throwing a stadium around."—TT

Best Actor:
Bradley Cooper, American Sniper
Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
"The ol’ “let’s put on a nose and an accent and do some Acting” thing worked for Nicole Kidman in The Hours, but Steve Carell achieves mixed results in Foxcatcher, Bennett Miller’s very tense, oddly inert retelling of rich weirdo John DuPont’s obsession with Olympic wrestling."—TT
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
"Yet here we are now in full support of Redmayne’s performance as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, which follows his life from an able-bodied student to the famous scientist we know now, and the woman (Felicity Jones) who loved him through all of it until he divorced her for his nurse. (Literally every man is a disappointment, eventually.)"—TT
Michael Keaton, Birdman

Best Actress:
Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night
Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
"In an era seriously lacking in serious movie stars, it’s great to see young actors like Jones and Redmayne get to go for broke in a movie that mostly deserves them."—TT
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
"It's open-mouthed entertainment with a capital E. Team Amy forever."—TT
Reese Witherspoon, Wild

Best Supporting Actor:
Robert Duvall, The Judge
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Edward Norton, Birdman
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Best Supporting Actress:
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Laura Dern, Wild
Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
Emma Stone, Birdman
Meryl Streep, Into the Woods

Cinematography:
Emmanuel Lubezki, Robert Yeoman, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski, Ida
Dick Pope, Mr. Turner
Roger Deakins, Unbroken

Costume Design:
Milena Canonero, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Mark Bridges, Inherent Vice
Colleen Atwood, Into the Woods
Anna B. Sheppard and Jane Clive, Maleficent
"This is just the main problem with Maleficent, a computer-y, dragging eye-roller of a fairytale that contains a fucking incendiary performance from Angelina Jolie, all cheekbones and flashing eyes and intimidation, sucking up all the green screen around her as lesser actors try to keep up."—TT
Jacqueline Durran, Mr. Turner

Directing:
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Birdman
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher
Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game

Foreign Language Film:
Ida
Leviathan
Tangerines
Timbuktu
Wild Tales

Makeup and Hairstyling:
Bill Corso and Dennis Liddiard, Foxcatcher
Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou and David White, Guardians of the Galaxy

Original Score:
Alexandre Desplat, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Alexandre Desplat, The Imitation Game
Jóhann Jóhannsson, Theory of Everything
Gary Yershon, Mr. Turner
Hans Zimmer, Interstellar

Adapted Screenplay:
Jason Hall, American Sniper
Graham Moore, The Imitation Game
Paul Thomas Anderson, Inherent Vice
Anthony McCarten, The Theory of Everything
Damien Chazelle, Whiplash

Original Screenplay:
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo, & Nicolas Giacobone, Birdman
E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman, Foxcatcher
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler

Best Picture:
American Sniper
Boyhood
The Imitation Game
Selma
The Theory of Everything
Birdman
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Whiplash

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