And The Oscar Nominees Should Be…

I have done really well on my annual attempt to see all the big Oscar nominees by show time (Sunday, February 28) – and even better to anticipate them by nomination time (Thursday, January 14). After seeing a great New York Times article listing who Manhola Dargis, A.O. Scott, and Stephen Holden thing the nominees should be, I decided to have a hand at my own list.

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From the Times, I learned how many films I still haven’t seen that are quite notable, even if they will be ignored the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science. They cite The Assassin, Experimenter, Results, Clouds of Sils Maria, Tangerine, 99 Homes, James White, The Diary of Teenage Girl, and two films I just never got around two seeing, Magic Mike XXL and Grandma. So for an amateur film buff, I might have done all right, but I have miles to watch.

Here are my thoughts on which Actors should be nominated based on the power and quality of their work. They ignore the Academy’s usual disdain for certain genres. They also don’t accept a lead role being positioned as supporting to help move an actor into a more winnable category.

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The Academy Awards – Who Should Win? 2015

This year there is supposedly suspense – Best Picture between Birdman and Boyhood; Best Actor between Michael Keaton and Eddie Redmayne.

But there is no suspense when you do the picking yourself.  Welcome to my picks for who I would vote for if I had an Oscar ballot. This is not who WILL win. This is who SHOULD win. Oscar voters are notorious for voting with their heart – for their favorite actors, to reward past performance, and to vote against films and filmmakers. I’m no better.

And unlike many Oscar voters, I’ve seen all the nominees in the Top 8 categories.

best-pic_3166072kPictureSelma – Although I picked The Grand Budapest Hotel as my favorite film of the year, Selma is a better choice for the “Oscar.” Yes, I’m a sucker for the pomp and circumstance of Oscar, the “importance” of it. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t write a blog post about it.

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The Oscar Red Carpet Experience – Star Search

Sally FieldSo I saw a lot of celebrities on the Red Carpet from the bleachers. It wasn’t always easy. Some were in a big ole hurry. And the carpet was jammed with people, so it easy to miss someone – especially a man in a regular tux. So when Aaron Tveit walked by on the carpet, I’m sad I missed him, but I can see how he was overlooked by everyone. (Just as his amazing performance in Les Misérables wasn’t given its due)

Of the 25 nominees for director and acting, we saw 21 of them. The only ones we never saw apparently did not walk the carpet: Denzel Washington, Emmanuelle Riva (no surprise), Michael Haneke, and Philip Seymour Hoffman. There is a side door off of Hollywood Blvd. for people to come and go without touching the press or the crowds.

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Les Closé Up – The Pieces of Les Misérables

Need a Les Mis: The Movie drinking game? Drink every time a character sheds one tear. You’ll be dead of alcohol poisoning before the first dead revolutionary. The intimacy, close-ups, and emotion of Les Misérables are well summed up in those copious single tears.

The arrival of Les Misérables to the big screen was met with eager anticipation and a great deal of nervousness by her die hard fans. Previous “stage to screen” adaptations range from the good (Chicago, The Phantom of the Opera) to decent (Hairspray, Rent) to lousy (The Producers) to the complicated (Sweeney Todd). How would they ruin this amazing show in the conversion to a Hollywood movie? For those less familiar or not at all familiar with the musical, would they be drawn in to see it and would it make any sense?les-mis-poster-main-630x350

Well, they didn’t ruin Les Misérables. If you loved it before, you are likely enjoyed most of it. If you disliked it or musicals in general, this will make it worse. If you never really knew it, and like musicals, you’re probably okay.

So here’s a quick review of different aspects of the film.

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