Thursday, January 15, 2015

Oscar Nominations 2015: First Thoughts

I posted my first impressions of the Oscar Nominations a year ago and I found that my thoughts about this year's nominees are very much the same.  In fact, much of what is below is copied and pasted from last year's post.

This partly me be being lazy.  But it also shows how little the Academy learned.  Granted they had 43 million viewers last year, so what do I know?  Then again, I can't remember much excitement over watching.  They did have a big hit in the mix last year with Gravity.  Not so much this year.  Which brings us to:

1.  Box Office

This is the list of the 9 movies nominated for Best Picture:

“American Sniper” 
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” 
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” 
“The Imitation Game”
“The Theory of Everything”

Now here's a list of the 10 highest grossing films of the year (via

1Guardians of the Galaxy
2The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1
3Captain America: The Winter Soldier
4The LEGO Movie
5Transformers: Age of Extinction
7The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
8X-Men: Days of Future Past
9Big Hero 6
10Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

And while box office isn't the only criteria for a good movie, I do believe that there is a reason some movies are hits and some are not. Not a single one of the movies nominated cracked the Top 10.  Not a single one has even cracked $100 million.  The highest grossing is The Grand Budapest Hotel with $59 million.  I think best chance for a hit is American Sniper when it hits a wider release.  But we'll see..  As I've noted before, the Oscars are more exciting when popular movies are nominated.

2.  My Best Movies.

Here's a list of the 10 best movies of the year according to this blog:

Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Edge of Tomorrow
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Guardians of the Galaxy
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
X-Men: Days of Future Past
How to Train Your Dragon 2
The Equalizer
As you'll notice, none of those on my list made it to the Oscars.  I find that my tastes do tend to run more populist, seeing as how my top ten is closer to the top ten box office than to the Oscar nominations.  But I do appreciate some small budget gems along the way.

3.  Return of the Taste Makers

The number of low budget critical darlings like Whiplash, Birdman, and Boyhood tell me that the Oscars are once again trying to tell us what is good.  I'm not saying that these movies aren't good (I haven't seen them yet).  But the Academy has taken it upon itself once again to tell hoi poloi what we should watch.  I don't know about you, but rather than it feeling like fans enjoying and sharing their favorite movies with us, it feels like they are talking down to us and forcing their tastes on us.


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