…and the winner is ‘Birdman’. And wrongly so, in my opinion. I’m not really happy with the Oscars this year as the judges seem to be continuing their long-standing tradition of awarding people for the wrong roles and, more importantly, shockingly snubbing others. What do I mean? Let’s think back to some of the greats.
Martin Scorsese won the Best Director Oscar, not for Mean Streets, not for Raging Bull, not even for Goodfellas. No, the Academy decided to wait until… The Departed. Don’t get me wrong, I love The Departed but it’s not his best work. This similarly happened with Julianne Moore this year, she was not necessarily awarded just for her new film Still Alice. But really she was being rewarded as it was her fifth time nominated and it’s a scandal that she hadn’t won for parts such as Boogie Nights or The Hours. Many other such wins come to mind and that’s only just from the past few years – is True Grit really the movie that Jeff Bridges should have won an Oscar for? C’mon!
Getting back to my original point, I believe that people will look back on the 2015 Oscars in decades to come in disbelief that Boyhood did not win the Best Picture award; followed shortly by the question “Birdman? What’s Birdman?” Richard Linklater has quite literally broken the mould with his latest film, by filming it over a 12 year period to show the trial and tribulations of a boy growing up – but equally showing a whole family unit and the relationships therein growing also. And before anyone argues that the film isn’t deserving only due to this ‘gimmick’, I argue that the film on a whole is a wonderful piece of work. With every person presenting the awards on Sunday night throwing around clichés such as “film reflects our lives” and “films tell human stories”, Boyhood was the absolute realisation of these sentiments. But instead the Oscar went to a movie about some washed-up actor, with the ‘hilarious’ in-joke being it stars someone who was once similar to the main character. Batman, Birdman, yes we get it. And what.
Lastly, to complete my rant, there is also the issue of the snubs. One that nobody has mentioned but that got me was the silence over the James Brown biog Get On Up. Sure, maybe just another music biog movie you might argue? Watch it, it is the most interesting and honest of any such films I’ve ever seen; and definitely more so than 2005’s Walk The Line. That was badly written and poorly acted, and yet it warranted huge Oscar buzz. Why not the same for Get On Up so? Well I guess you can’t please everyone and someone is going to disagree with how the awards are handed out, this year I am definitely one of those people. Here are some of my other personal highlights in film from the past year, namely Foxcatcher and the incredible Whiplash –