Jan 162015
 

bestpic

Overnight the 87th Academy Award nominations were announced, and in a race that was as wide open and unpredictable as any other, there were a fair share of surprises. Who would have expected Selma to land just two nominations (including one of eight Best Picture spots), for Gone Girl and Nightcrawler to land just a lone nomination apiece, and for Foxcatcher to nab five, including Bennett Miller for Best Director and Steve Carell for Best Actor, but not score a Best Picture nomination?

In the wide open Best Actor race Bradley Cooper score his third straight Oscar nomination for American Sniper, while Marion Cotillard snuck into the Best Actress field for Two Days, One Night. The Lego Movie and Life Itself missed out on nominations for Animated Feature and Documentary, respectively.

Birdman and The Grand Budapest led the field with nine nominations apiece, with The Imitation Game scoring 8 and Boyhood and American Sniper 6.

You can find out the complete list of nominees, with commentary, after the jump:

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Dec 032014
 

dune

 

15 films have been selected by the Academy’s Documentary Branch into the shortlist for Best Documentary Feature. The next round of voting will reduce this list to five final nominees.

Here they are, listed in alphabetical order by title:

Art and Craft
The Case against 8
Citizen Koch
CitizenFour
Finding Vivian Maier
The Internet’s Own Boy
Jodorowsky’s Dune
Keep On Keepin’ On
The Kill Team
Last Days in Vietnam
Life Itself
The Overnighters
The Salt of the Earth
Tales of the Grim Sleeper
Virunga

The great news for Australians is that most of these films are and have been available to view over the course of the year. The Case Against 8, Finding Vivian Maier and Jodorowsky’s Dune have all been released theatrically in 2014, with Keep on Keepin’ On set to be have a limited release this month and Life Itself in January.

The Kill Team and The Internet’s Own Boy are currently available to rent or buy on Dendy Direct in Australia.

Others, like The Overnighters, Salt of the Earth and Tales of the Grim Sleeper (and Life Itself and Jodorowsky’s Dune) have been on the festival rounds. I was lucky enough to catch the latter in Toronto. It takes documentary filmmaking to the next level. I was sorry to miss out on The Overnighters at the Sydney Film Festival.

Edward Snowden documentary Citizenfour has become the favourite, awarded Best Documentary at the Gotham Awards and the NYFCC yesterday, with Last Days in Vietnam also a strong contender, but my current #1 selection would be Jodorowsky’s  Dune. Such an entertaining look at the crazy genius and his impossible adaptation of Dune.

By Andrew Buckle

 

Jan 172014
 

The 86th Academy Award nominations were announced in Beverly Hills today, with American Hustle and Gravity leading the pack with 10 nominations each. Close behind is 12 Years a Slave (9), Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club & Nebraska (6) and Her & The Wolf of Wall Street (5).

Apart from the fact I think American Hustle is a messy, mediocre film, I have to say that I don’t have too many issues with this year’s Oscar noms. I don’t think the Hustle cast should have received as many acting nominations as they did, particularly those for Adams and Lawrence. Philomena and star Judi Dench getting in ahead of family friendly Saving Mr. Banks and star Emma Thompson was a surprise, as I thought the conservative Oscar voters would love the feel-good industry film. However, Tom Hanks missing out for his incredible performance in Captain Phillips was perhaps the biggest acting omission. Bale was good, but come on Academy.

I am absolutely delighted to see my favourite film of 2013 Nebraska receive 6 nominations, including a somewhat surprise nomination for director Alexander Payne. Another pleasant surprise was the nomination of my favourite 2013 documentary, Dirty Wars. I have been harping on and on about this film since I saw it back in June and I honestly didn’t think enough people had seen it for it to be on the radar for a nomination. 20 Feet From Stardom receiving a nomination was also fantastic; although Stories We Tell missed out, which I think it surprising and sad for director Sarah Polley.

Prisoners receiving a cinematography nod for the endlessly talented Roger Deakins was a great inclusion. This film is gorgeously shot, particularly the night scenes which filled me with chills from head-to-toe. Deakins is so over-due for some Oscar love, he really is. 12 Years a Slave missing out in this category was quite surprising.

The Foreign language film selections were as predicted and I will be cheering for the magnificent The Hunt to take this one out. However, I’m yet to see Omar and The Square, which is something I will need to rectify before the awards are handed out on March 2nd.

I just want to leave you with one thought. The Academy Award nominated Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa people!

The full list of Academy Award nominations are after the jump.

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Jan 272013
 

oscar-best-picture-nominees

The completist film nerd in me is very happy. I have now seen all of the 2013 Oscar nominees for best picture. I have to say that 2013 has been a very strong year, and a year where the Academy has actually nominated many of what I believe to be the best films of 2012. After the jump check out my ranking of the best picture nominees. Of course this list is purely based on my personal tastes…

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