The nomination list for the upcoming Academy Awards was revealed today. As is the case each year, we have most of the obvious choices along with some notable snubs and a few surprises. The fact that Selma was overlooked in both, Best Actor and Best Director category, was quite shocking considering the rave reviews the movie has received from all quarters, and makes it a rare year in recent times when no colored actor features among the Best Actor nominees. Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel are leading names in the Oscar race with nine nominations each, followed by The Imitation Game that has eight nominations. Boyhood and American Sniper have received six nominations each. This is one of those years where it is really difficult to pick out clear favourites in any of the categories, which in turn should make for great viewing, come D-day.
Here is the nominee list for the 87th Academy Awards… along with our predictions, though unlike last year where we got many of them right, this year, our guess is as good as yours!
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything
BUCKS AND CORN Says: Boyhood. It is such a tough call this year, with Boyhood, Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel likely to be the leading contenders. But just for the sheer artistic creativity with which Boyhood has been made, it could be the one chosen for the Oscar above the others.
Alejandro González Iñárittu, Birdman
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game
BUCKS AND CORN Says: Richard Linklater for Boyhood. Once again, the directors behind the three movies we talked above would be battling with each other for the award. None of them have ever won the Oscar before, though each one of them has been nominated in the past. Richard Linklater might just have the edge here considering the unconventional style behind the making of Boyhood. Ahh, give him an Oscar now, and make it up for not giving him one for Before Sunrise and its sequels!
Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper, American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton, Birdman
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
BUCKS AND CORN Says: Michael Keaton for Birdman. What a talent pool we have here! And so many first-timers. In fact, everyone except for Bradley Cooper who is in contention for this award for the third year in a row. Great to see Steve Carell move to a serious role with such aplomb, and Benedict Cumberbatch pick up the first of what should be many Oscar nominations. But it is likely to be a two-horse race between the veteran Michael Keaton and the new sensation Eddie Redmayne. The former Batman star might just end up with the Oscar though, as his performance as a struggling washed-up actor in Birdman struck a chord with many.
Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night
Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon, Wild
BUCKS AND CORN Says: Rosamund Pike for Gone Girl. A former Bond girl going on to win an Oscar in itself makes for an interesting story. But if Rosamund Pike was to get the award for her incredible performance in Gone Girl where she swayed from a sympathetic person to a crazy woman, few would have any complaints. Julianne Moore is likely to be the strongest competitor in this category; this is her fifth Oscar nomination though she is yet to win one.
Best Supporting Actor
Robert Duvall, The Judge
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Edward Norton, Birdman
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
BUCKS AND CORN Says: J.K. Simmons for Whiplash. Let the indie flicks get some winners, please! For long we have heard only great things about Whiplash and particularly on J.K. Simmons’ role as the loud, aggressive and pushing mentor to an aspiring drummer. An Oscar would be truly deserved here which would also give this movie some positive publicity. Oh, and did anyone else notice that there are two Hulks in this nomination list?
Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Laura Dern, Wild
Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
Emma Stone, Birdman
Meryl Streep, Into the Woods
BUCKS AND CORN Says: Patricia Arquette for Boyhood. Oh, Meryl Streep has been nominated for an Oscar, what a surprise! The 19th Oscar nomination for Streep would undoubtedly result in some more laughs at the Academy Awards on how insanely talented she is. But this might just be the night for Patricia Arquette and Boyhood. Arquette played the mother in the movie, and gave the story a solidity as time moved too quickly on the screen. First Oscar nominations for Keira Knightley and Emma Stone, which is great for these talented beauties, and the second for Laura Dern.
Best Adapted Screenplay
American Sniper, written by Jason Hall
The Imitation Game, written by Graham Moore
Inherent Vice, written by Paul Thomas Anderson
The Theory of Everything, written by Anthony McCarten
Whiplash, written by Damien Chazelle
BUCKS AND CORN Says: Anthony McCarten for The Theory of Everything. The life story of Stephen Hawking is amazing to begin with, something that would intrigue many of us. A huge part of Hawking’s life has had his ex-wife Jane Wilde in it, and so her memoirs form a fantastic piece to build a movie with. That is what Anthony McCarten has done to perfection, which makes him a worthy Oscar contender this year.
Best Original Screenplay
Birdman, written by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo
Boyhood, written by Richard Linklater
Foxcatcher, written by E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman
The Grand Budapest Hotel, screenplay by Wes Anderson; Story by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness
Nightcrawler, written by Dan Gilroy
BUCKS AND CORN Says: Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness for The Grand Budapest Hotel. Oh, what an amazing story it was! One filled with adventure, wit and purpose, shifting through three time periods, deserving of all the plaudits that it has received. This movie stands out as one of the best works of Wes Anderson and it would be fitting if he picks up an Oscar for it, either for Direction or for Screenplay. The writers of Birdman and Boyhood would again be his strongest competitors in this category.
Best Animated Feature
Big Hero 6
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Song of the Sea
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
BUCKS AND CORN Says: How to Train Your Dragon 2. This one seems to be a no-brainer. There isn’t any Pixar film competing this year; Disney’s Big Hero 6 was enjoyable but not a massive crowd-puller like Frozen. On the other hand, DreamWorks Animation put out a strong and emotional sequel with How to Train Your Dragon 2 which was admired by critics and the audience. Would be very surprising if it does not get the Oscar.
Achievement in film editing
Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach, American Sniper
Sandra Adair, Boyhood
Barney Pilling, The Grand Budapest Hotel
William Goldenberg, The Imitation Game
Tom Cross, Whiplash
BUCKS AND CORN Says: Sandra Adair for Boyhood. This crazy movie which was shot over 12 years would have required some serious editing to convert it into an interesting 165-minute piece. Sandra Adair was the man for the job, someone well known to Richard Linklater as both of them have worked together before on Before Sunrise and its two sequels.
Achievement in cinematography
Robert Yeoman, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski, Ida
Dick Pope, Mr. Turner
Roger Deakins, Unbroken
BUCKS AND CORN Says: Robert Yeoman for The Grand Budapest Hotel. The veteran Wes Anderson collaborator has earned his first Oscar nomination this year, and could very well win it too. Apart from the fantastic writing behind The Grand Budapest Hotel, its cinematography was widely acclaimed, playing a crucial part in mixing the film’s humourous elements with the darker tones perfectly.
Achievement in costume design
Milena Canonero, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Mark Bridges, Inherent Vice
Colleen Atwood, Into the Woods
Anna B. Sheppard and Jane Clive, Maleficent
Jacqueline Durran, Mr. Turner
BUCKS AND CORN Says: Colleen Atwood for Into The Woods. This veteran costume designer has been nominated nothing short of ten times for an Oscar prior to this year, and has won it thrice. The colorful and varying kinds of costumes that went in Into the Woods could bring another Oscar to her kitty. Costume work that went in Maleficent, especially for Angelina Jolie’s attire, was also exceptional.
Achievement in 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
BUCKS AND CORN Says: Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier for The Grand Budapest Hotel. The characters in this movie deserved their own unique styles which came from the expertise shown by Hannon and Coulier in the makeup and hairstyling department. We saw some great work in Guardians of the Galaxy too, and wouldn’t the Marvel fans love a movie from their universe to win a surprise Oscar?!
Achievement in production design
Adam Stockhausen (Production Design); Anna Pinnock (Set Decoration), The Grand Budapest Hotel
Maria Djurkovic (Production Design); Tatiana Macdonald (Set Decoration), The Imitation Game
Nathan Crowley (Production Design); Gary Fettis (Set Decoration), Interstellar
Dennis Gassner (Production Design); Anna Pinnock (Set Decoration), Into the Woods
Suzie Davies (Production Design); Charlotte Watts (Set Decoration), Mr. Turner
BUCKS AND CORN Says: Adam Stockhausen (Production Design) & Anna Pinnock (Set Decoration) for The Grand Budapest Hotel. The lavishness of the sets would have blown your mind away, adding more layers to the compelling story of Wes Anderson.
Achievement in sound editing
Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman, American Sniper
Martin Hernández and Aaron Glascock, Birdman
Brent Burge and Jason Canovas, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Richard King, Interstellar
Becky Sullivan and Andrew DeCristofaro, Unbroken
BUCKS AND CORN Says: Richard King for Interstellar. Last year, the Oscar in this category went to Gravity, and so no wonder, we have placed our bets on another epic space adventure.
Achievement in sound mixing
John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Walt Martin, American Sniper
Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and Thomas Varga, Birdman
Gary A. Rizzo, Gregg Landaker and Mark Weingarten, Interstellar
Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and David Lee, Unbroken
Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley, Whiplash
BUCKS AND CORN Says: Gary A. Rizzo, Gregg Landaker and Mark Weingarten for Interstellar. For just being another epic Christopher Nolan movie, we would love to see it win an Oscar, and its best chances look to be best in the sound department.
Achievement in visual effects
Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Bryan Grill and Dan Sudick, Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett and Erik Winquist, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Stephane Ceretti, Nicolas Aithadi, Jonathan Fawkner and Paul Corbould, Guardians of the Galaxy
Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher, Interstellar
Richard Stammers, Lou Pecora, Tim Crosbie and Cameron Waldbauer, X-Men: Days of Future Past
BUCKS AND CORN Says: Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett and Erik Winquist for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. There has been stunning visual effects on display this year, raising the bar for movies that will follow. But even amongst the lot, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes truly achieved something special and path-breaking with the use of its motion capture to such perfection!
Some other Oscar nomination categories are listed below.
Best Documentary Feature
Finding Vivian Maier
Last Days in Vietnam
The Salt of the Earth
Best Foreign Language Film
Wild Tales (Argentina)
Best Original Score
Alexandre Desplat, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Alexandre Desplat, The Imitation Game
Hans Zimmer, Interstellar
Gary Yershon, Mr. Turner
Jóhann Jóhannsson, The Theory of Everything
Best Original Song
“Everything Is Awesome,” The Lego Movie, Music and Lyric by Shawn Patterson
“Glory,” Selma, Music and Lyric by John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn
“Grateful,” Beyond the Lights, Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
“I’m Not Going to Miss You,” Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me, Music and Lyric by Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond
“Lost Stars,” Begin Again, Music and Lyric by Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois
There are also Oscar nomination categories in the Best documentary short subject, Best animated short film and Best live action short film.
We’ll know the winners soon, on the 22nd of February when Neil Patrick Harris opens the Awards night at the Dolby Theatre. Till then, sit tight, and wait for the envelopes to be opened as we hear those memorable words “And the Oscar goes to…”