I am calling this an Oscar rant. However, I am not going to talk about why the Academy Awards should acknowledge more independent films or why they should not operate on principles concerning whether so-and-so is an ‘Oscar-type actor’. Instead, I want to raise a few comments on several of the specific decisions that the Academy made in regards to this past year’s awards. In general, this year’s awards were better and more pleasing than those of years past. I was very much pleased with the results for the Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actor and Actress categories (Julianne Moore, JK Simmons, and Patricia Arquette, respectively.) Although The Lego Movie was not nominated for Best Animated Feature, which I will protest in another section, Big Hero 6’s winning of the Best Animated Feature was well deserved and I thoroughly enjoyed the film. I was cheered by Interstellar’s win for Best Visual Effects. However, it was not nominated for many other categories, which was well expected from the Academy. Though I was content with the result for Best Adapted Screenplay, (The Imitation Game), I think Gone Girl should have been nominated and should have won as a result of its nomination. But these small discrepancies of opinion are minor.
My real concern lies with the results for Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Original Screenplay. While Birdman was the best film of 2014, I do not believe that Alejandro G. Inharritu deserved to win Best Director as much as Richard Linklater or Wes Anderson. Granted, Inharritu’s work was stunning. However, the works of Richard Linklater and Wes Anderson were more deserving of the Best Director award. For those of you who don’t know much about Richard Linklater, the man worked on Boyhood for twelve odd years. Twelve. That, in and of itself, is a triumph. The film could have easily been a disaster in this immense risk that Linklater took. Instead, it was received with critical acclaim. I feel that Linklater’s work was not treasured as much by the Academy as it should have been. Wes Anderson also did a delightful job in the Grand Budapest Hotel, which, while not my favorite movie of 2014, definitely makes the ‘top-ten’ list. The film makes my list mostly for to the contributions of Wes Anderson, all of which were so well executed. The Academy has not honored many of his films, which include Rushmore, The Darjeeling Limited, and Moonrise Kingdom. Nevertheless, The Grand Budapest Hotel is certainly one of his best, the other being The Royal Tenenbaums (which lost the Best Original Screenplay award to Robert Altman’s Gosford Park, written by Julian Fellowes of Downton Abbey fame). There is no doubt that the film was worthy of Academy Award praise. Of course, it is worth mentioning that the film itself did win in other categories, including Costume Design and Production Design. However, the award that it deserved was Best Director.
I was not extremely thrilled with the results of the Best Original Screenplay award. Birdman was a magnificent film and it won Best Picture. However, the Best Original Screenplay should have gone to The Grand Budapest Hotel. It is because The Grand Budapest Hotel is so full of humor and charming wit that it so pleasurable to watch. The Grand Budapest Hotel had a superior screenplay to Birdman, although I am only saying that marginally.
My final concern pertains to the results of The Best Actor category. It was clear before the awards started that the winner would either be Eddie Redmayne or Michael Keaton. To say which actor should have won really divided people. I feel that Michael Keaton should have won instead of Redmayne. Both had awe-inspiring and well-executed performances, but Keaton’s rare appearances in films, combined with his unsurpassed performance make him deserving of the award. Keaton’s next appearances in film will likely be few and far between before his death. Thus, the Academy should have honored him with Best Actor. Though Redmayne gave an astounding performance as Dr. Stephen Hawking, the actor has plenty of years to shine will expectantly appear in many more films. Michael Keaton, on the other hand, will likely appear in very few, and I believe that for the years of work he dedicated to this film he deserved to win in the Best Actor category.