Oscars 2015: Awarding a ‘New Era in Film’

Oscars 2015: The nominees for the Best Actor category include Eddie Redmayne for “Birdman,” Steve Carell for “Foxcatcher,” Michael Keaton for “Birdman,” Bradley Cooper for “American Sniper,” and Benedict Cumberbatch (above) for “The Imitation Game.”

This past year has defined a new era in film.   We saw an inside look at Alan Turing’s breakthrough, yet hidden discovery of the enigma code during World War II.

We were able to witness a passionate hotel concierge and his lobby boy as they embarked on a quirky adventure.

We inspected the life of Chris Kyle’s dedication to his fellow soldiers around him.

We viewed a unique, expedient portrayal of Martin Luther King’s march from Selma to Montgomery.

We gained perspective on a “has been” actor who was attempting to remain relevant by writing, directing, and starring in a Broadway play.

We examined a genuine insight into Stephen and Jane Hawking’s relationship.

  We held our breath as we observed a music teacher bring his wrath down for the sake of bettering his talented student.

Finally, we looked through the eyes of a boy growing up over a span of 12 years.

As viewers, we were enlightened through various forms of making cinema.

“Selma” was able to take an event that happened 50 years ago and still proved a valid point in today’s society.  Wes Anderson continually delivers new ways to intrigue our artistic cravings with his first-rate, detailed production design in “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” Clint Eastwood proved that biopic war films are his forte with “American Sniper.”

Each film nominated for Best Picture has every right to be in the category. Except I’m still bitter that David Fincher’s “Gone Girl” was snubbed. Ultimately, this year’s Oscars’ highest achievements are found in both “Birdman” and “Boyhood.” Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s “Birdman” reached a new peak in aesthetics. Its ability to illustrate one long, constant take, as we were up close and personal with them, was groundbreaking for cinema. The word “phenomenal” doesn’t even begin to describe the merit that the cast brings, especially Edward Norton and Michael Keaton. Although it has a convincing case to take home Best Picture, I believe it still comes up short to Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood.”

Ask yourself, what is the real point of movies? Obviously they’re meant to entertain and serve as an “escape” from our everyday lives, but is that really all it is?

For myself, film’s goal ever since its origin has been to convey truths and represent themes of life in a different, visual perspective.  No matter how ridiculous or magnificent a film could be, there is still a nugget of truth in all of them that the filmmaker was trying to portray.

This is where “Boyhood” comes in and rises above the rest.

Writer and director, Richard Linklater, decided to create a film around a boy who simply grows up over 12 years. Instead of making it an ordinary movie, Linklater chose to literally film his movie as life being naturally played out. In other words, he didn’t use special effects or unrealistic life scenarios. Instead, he remained grounded throughout production to help convey his personal truths and themes he’s known his whole life.

Therefore, Linklater’s film should be given the highest award this year at the Oscars. He should undoubtedly win Best Director as well. Twelve years of dedication to one project is absurdly brilliant.

Linklater’s “Boyhood” sets ablaze a new path that future filmmakers could replicate by filming over a span of many years. When a new form of filmmaking is brought to the surface, the person who started it should be given the recognition for advancing his art.

Finally, here are my cold picks for this year’s Oscars in the categories I care about.  “Birdman” should win Best Original Screenplay. Read the script if you get a chance – mind-blowing on paper. It could also win Best Cinematography, but “Budapest Hotel” and “Mr. Turner” might have an argument to win as well. For Adapted Screenplay, I’m going with “Whiplash”-it’s too perfect not to win. “Interstellar” should win most of the technical awards, such as Visual Effects and Sound Editing although, “American Sniper” had exemplary sound too).

Production Design will go to “The Grand Budapest Hotel”.  J.K. Simmons’ “Whiplash” will win Best Supporting Actor, and Patricia Arquette (“Boyhood”) should win Supporting Actress watch out for Emma Stone, though.

Lastly, I’m still bitter about “The Lego Movie” being snubbed for Best Animated Feature. You can’t win them all, I guess. Watch the Oscars on Feb. 22, at 7 p.m. on ABC.

Evan Engel
Staff Writer
Published February 18th, 2015