By Morgan King- Staff Writer
From historical features like Selma to creative masterpieces like Boyhood, the film industry is offering great pieces just in time for award show season. These movies and many others will be judged for the most contested award in the industry: the Oscars.
Established in 1929, the Academy Awards honors films for their cinematic achievement. These accomplishments cover the full range of what goes into a film including sound editing, costumes, directing, and performance. The benefit of receiving the award is not just for the statue (affectionately nicknamed “Oscar”) but for the legacy of the “Academy Award Winning” title that will stay with the winner throughout their life.
This year’s 87th Academy Awards include nominees from a wide variety of stunning films. Despite the high caliber, the recent buzz around the awards focuses primarily on Selma, directed by Ava DuVernay and starring David Oyelowo. The film follows Martin Luther King, Jr.’s march from Selma to Montgomery for voting rights. It is one of the only films to be nominated for Best Picture, but not be nominated for Best Director. This has stimulated an intense discussion on racism in the Academy’s Board of Directors.
A breakdown of the other nominees might be beneficial to make your own selections for this year’s Oscars.
The nominees in the category of Best Picture vary to everything from the portrayal of the American occupation in Iraq as seen by a sniper in American Sniper, to the life of an unwashed actor after his career ends in Birdman, and even the life of famed physicist Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. This year’s top contenders seem to be Golden Globe Award winning Boyhood versus Screen Actors Guild award winning Birdman. Both are very different movies. Boyhood is a unique film by Richard Linklater that follows one family in a twelve-year time span. Assistant Professor of English and Director of Film Studies Program Dr. Stacey Peebles enjoys both Boyhood and Birdman, and believes both will be acknowledged at the ceremony.
“I believe the Academy will do something very unusual and give Best Picture to Birdman and Best Director to Linklater. What Linklater does in Boyhood is good, but overall it is a quiet film, but what he does as a director is so innovative that is what people will be talking about,” Dr. Peebles said.
The creativity and skill that exists in Birdman might just make it enough to snag the Oscar for Best Picture, but campus seems to disagree.
Junior JP Deering has high hopes in Boyhood.
“It has won most of the major awards already, and the story is truly profound. The production took twelve years to film and that innovation deserves to be awarded,” Deering said.
Sophomore and Film Studies minor Kortney Treviño remains divided in her opinion of the contested films.
“Boyhood is one great commitment. You do not have that type of commitment for one film. I’m really excited for what it will do at the Oscars. But what is also really interesting is the editing in Birdman. The whole movie looks like it is one continuous shot, and that kind of picture, I feel, needs to be rewarded as well,” Treviño said.
This year, many are already congratulating Eddie Redmayne for his portrayal of Stephan Hawking. Typically in Oscar history, intense method acting, like Redmayne in The Theory of Everything, is rewarded by the Academy.
It will be interesting to see if the Academy goes with Redmayne, or shakes it up with Micheal Keaton in Birdman or Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game. Treviño puts her faith in Keaton. “He is such a great casting choice, since he was the first Batman. His portrayal is really spot on for this type of actor,” Treviño said.
Deering believes in Redmaybe.
“He had a very strong physical transformation to really become his character, and while Keaton gave a more diverse range in his performance, most of the committees have favored Redmayne this year,” Deering said.
The Best Actress category may be narrowed down to Juilanne Moore in Still Alice. Her dignity and skill goes unmatched to what has been seen in recent cinema. However, the portrayal in Gone Girl by Rosamund Pike is a fan favorite, as is popular actress Reese Witherspoon’s portrayal in Wild.
Campus seems to agree with what the committees have been saying. “Moore has a very rough physical transformation. The final scene of the movie is amazing acting where she becomes completely speechless and uncontrollable,” Deering said.
You can watch the Oscars on Sun., Feb. 22 at 7 p.m.