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January 2015

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Movie: The Grand Budapest Hotel
What it’s up for: Best Picture, Cinematography, Costume Design, Director, Film Editing, Makeup, Score, Production Design, Original Screenplay

This is currently my favorite movie of the year. Well, my favorite movies of the Oscar nominees. Over the past couple of years, I’ve grown to be a big fan of Wes Anderson, but The Grand Budapest Hotel brings his work to a whole new level.

The primary story of this film depicts the foibles of M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes), the concierge of the Grand Budapest Hotel, after one of his wealthy patrons dies and he is accused of her murder. The story is told by his lobby boy, Zero (Tony Revolori), as he aids and abets Gustave’s flee from the police and search for justice.

I was surprised when I heard that a Wes Anderson movie was nominated for Best Picture. Now, after watching, I understand why. It’s not just a comical flaunt through an nontraditional landscape. The movie takes place over three different timelines: a girl reading a book (The Grand Budapest Hotel) at the grave site of the author, the author recording a commentary of how he was inspired to write the book (with flashbacks), and the story itself. The inspiration for the entire story came from writings by Stefan Zweig and throughout the film, particularly during timelines 1 and 2, you could feel a depth to what was happening as if it had been real. (Let it be known, that I did not know about Zweig before watching the movie.) Zweig seems like a terribly interesting person and I may very well be looking him up at the library soon.

Wes Anderson both directed and wrote the screenplay, in his usual fashion. His direction of the cast keeps things moving at a rapid pace without losing the audience. The script is witty and cerebral without being overbearing. (And here I will mention that Ralph Fiennes steals the show completely with his fabulous delivery and execution of a well-written screenplay. The brilliant way he and Tony Revolori interact throughout the movie should be noted as well: they are a dynamic duo who make each other better with their performance.) The overall production design is as unique as it can be but I was surprised that it was nominated for this category too, since it feels pretty similar to most of Anderson’s other works. The cinematography (by Robert Yeoman, Anderson’s go-to cinematographer) is so gorgeous and intriguing to watch. The beginning of the film uses a fisheye lens in some creative ways that really stood out for me. The use of models for special effects is fun to watch in modern films and Yeoman and Anderson utilize them so well. They also use three different aspect ratios (one for each timeline) which keeps you on your toes. Wrapping up the creative, out-of-the-box crew is the film editor, Barney Pilling. Pilling has quite a job with the rhythmic flow of the acting and synchronizing that with the fitting Alexandre Desplat score. He accomplishes it well and the effect of all these elements combined is fantastic.

Now to makeup and costume design. The costumes do a great job of accentuating the production design. They also help tell a story in a semi-fictional world that also reflects back to a reality that existed between the world wars. The makeup is fine and good but nothing spectacular…with one exception: Tilda Swinton plays the old lady that dies and her makeup was so outrageous that I had absolutely no idea it was her until the credits.

I highly recommend Budapest. It’s uplifting, fun, and thoughtful. Go get it from Redbox and enjoy the show.

Boyhood

Movie: Boyhood
What it’s up for: Best Picture, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Director, Film Editing, Original Screenplay

Boyhood’s plot is exactly that – a boy’s boyhood.

I have some strong feelings about this movie.

1) The production technique of this movie is groundbreaking and surreal. Filming an average of three days a year over twelve years with the same cast, Richard Linklater accomplishes something historic and unimaginably difficult as a director through this film. The film editing works well with Linklater’s style. It’s artsy but realistic. The transitions between time periods are only made known through hairstyle changes and the emergence of new technology. That could be distracting at times as you’re trying to figure out how much time has passed, but it’s an interesting and seemless journey through the 2000s/early 2010s.

2) The script is horrendous. Words can’t even describe how miserably difficult it is to follow the dialogue. The screenplay as a whole is fine. It undoubtedly got nominated because of the whole shot-over-12-years thing.

3) Patricia Arquette has an understated role that builds throughout the film as the mother of the main character, Mason. You don’t really understand why she got nominated until her very last scene which is made more impactful because of her earlier subtlety.

4) The overall theme of the movie is surprisingly hopeless. Only one character is left at the end with any tangible semblance of hope, and it’s not even the main character. As someone who works with teens, it is unbelievably disheartening to see parental disengagement, unhindered and rationalized teen alcohol/drug abuse, and a moral to the story that life is meaningless. I understand that my moral compass points in a different direction than a lot of people’s, but outside of the basic inappropriate behavior, what bothered me the most is the underlying belief that nothing matters. Is that Linklater’s view of real life? How sad is that? Do we really want to live in a world where that is the primary belief?

5) Last but not least, Ethan Hawke. I want to say that his performance might be my favorite thing about the movie. He plays Patricia Arquette’s ex-husband and the father of Mason and his sister. *slight SPOILER ALERT* When the movie starts out, he seems to be the typical loser ex-husband/estranged father character that you see so often in stories. He develops into something much deeper and greater than that and his character shines a light on the reality of everyone else’s lives. Linklater’s choice for this character is his best accomplishment.*end SPOILER*

Watching a boy grow up on film is astounding. Watching it for two and a half hours while the secondary characters struggle through their lines is…difficult. There was not a lot of good acting in the film outside of Arquette and Hawke and there was A LOT of really bad acting. If it had been a movie that was shot like a normal movie, it wouldn’t even be getting a second glance by anyone.

Predictions

Best Picture: No

Supporting Actor: Unlikely but I’m not sure at this point

Supporting Actress: Possible

Director: Unlikely

Film Editing: Unlikely

Original Screenplay: Doubtful

 

Begin Again

Movie: Begin Again
What it’s up for: Original Song “Lost Stars”

My favorite part of forcing myself to watch all the Oscar nominated movies is discovering wonderful independent movies that I otherwise wouldn’t have watched.

This was not one of them.

Begin Again tells the story of a washed up music producer (Mark Ruffalo) and a down-on-her-luck song writer (Kiera Knightley). They endeavor to create an album in New York City without any funding in order to prove to a music label that they’re worth investing in.

My favorite thing about this movie is that Adam Levine basically makes fun of his own music. I’ve never been a big fan of Adam Levine’s style anyway, so that aspect was pretty entertaining. Cee Lo shows up a couple of times too and I always enjoy watching him be himself.

Also, there is a special place in my heart for James Corden. Alright, I admit it…I love him. Ever since he showed up in my life as Craig in Doctor Who, I have loved him. I will love him forever and any production he is in is made better by his presence.

I really wanted to like this movie but the plot is weak, the screenplay is overly simplistic, and the music is agonizingly melancholy. The song nominated, “Lost Stars” I don’t really like either, but that’s mostly because of my previously mentioned distaste for Adam Levine. So, this is mostly a worthless post. It’s also worthless because the song from Selma is pretty much a guaranteed win.

Prediction

Song: Unlikely

Into the Woods

Movie: Into the Woods
What it’s up for: Supporting Actress, Costume Design, Production Design

Into the woods without delay! My first experience with this play was at a high school production and my first thought afterwards was “Awesome!” and my second thought was “Goodness, that was long”.

The film version of this Stephen Sondheim play is exactly that: a play on film. Usually, stage musicals are made more fluid and become structured more like a film and less like a play when they adapt to the screen. In this category, I would place the 2004 Phantom of the OperaSound of Music, 2012’s Les Mis, and even The King and I with Yul Brenner and Deborah Kerr. Honestly, MOST stage musicals made into films fall into this category. Into the Woods was different. In that regard, it can be tough to watch for people who are expecting a movie version of a play. However, it remains engaging and entertaining for those familiar with the play and those well prepared.

The basic premise is that there are several fairy tale characters living in the same land that find themselves thrown into different and intertwining dilemmas after venturing into the woods. The first half focuses on the characters accomplishing certain goals and the second half focuses on the consequences of their efforts.

It is long, because the play is long, but had a few things cut out. In Sondheim fashion, it is quite depressing. The production design is beyond fabulous. The sets are beautiful and react to the events happening in them in a way that accentuates the plot. It deviates from the brilliant production design of Interstellar in the way a painter deviates from a photographer – both are works of art but the intention is what makes them different. It was an almost tangible experience to be in the woods with these characters. Everything works so well with the cinematography and costuming as well that it is all one fluid piece of art. The costumes are big and intricate and frame each character’s background and personality well.

Last but not least, Meryl. Meryl Streep plays the Witch who connects all the characters together. Meryl is Meryl. I really don’t have a lot to expound on for her here. She’s had more powerful roles in the past for sure but she was great as the Witch.

I enjoyed the movie, even though I forgot about the depressing nature of the story. I’d definitely see it again, though. It has a way of getting into your head that keeps you thinking.

Predictions

Supporting Actress: It’s kind of a weird category this year, so I honestly don’t know yet.

Production Design: Possible

Costume Design: Probable

Interstellar

Movie: Interstellar
What it’s up for: Score, Production Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects

Interstellar is about…space.

Just kidding!

It’s also about…dust?

Ok ok. I won’t spend this post giving Interstellar a hard time. I wasn’t interested in seeing it when it first came out so I ended up seeing it this week during one of its last run at my local theater. So, the movie started at 10:20p….this is NOT the movie to see late at night. Therefore, I ended up more confused than I probably would have been if I had seen it at a reasonable hour.

So, anyway, Interstellar is about a man named Cooper who believes that on a dying planet where everyone’s primary focus is simply to stay alive, humanity still desires to explore. Through a series of mysterious events he ends up heading a mission to space to find a new habitable planet for the humans of Earth. In the process, he leaves his two children behind without knowing when – or if – he’ll return.

This movie is simply Christopher Nolan being Christopher Nolan. The visual effects are astounding. Breathtaking. Intimidating. It blows my mind how each year, CGI advances a little bit more. On top of that, the production design is practically flawless. There is a stark contrast between Earth, space, and the alien planets. With that, though, there is also a sense of consistency. The dusty Earth in particular stood out to me the most because everything was legitimately covered in dust and dirt.

The sound mixing and sound editing were impressive, but like war movies (*cough*American Sniper*cough*), space movies will almost always get nominated for these categories. The creation of new sounds and figuring out how sound works in fictional environments is quite the undertaking. With Interstellar, Nolan’s partnership with Hans Zimmer brings a powerful and unique score into the mix as well. (Pun intended.) I knew that the movie was nominated for the sounds going in to it, so I was surprised when there were moments when I couldn’t hear the dialogue clearly. So, I figured it must have been intentional on Nolan and the sound mixers’ parts. Turns out, I’m not the only one who came to that conclusion. I didn’t notice this as much in the Knight movies or Inception but it was quite distracting during Interstellar. Despite that, though, the mixing with the score was EXTREMELY effective. The use of silence alternating with Phantom of the Opera-ish organ music creates an intensity that you don’t really get from the characters who stay relatively calm throughout the movie. It’s quite the interesting juxtaposition.

I would be interested in seeing how I respond to the movie during a time when I’m not exhausted. The teens I work with really liked it, for reasons they can’t really pin down. The complex theoretical science and obscure plot line create plenty of SPACE for discussion. (Two puns in a post might be too much, eh?) Personally, the whole wormhole/black hole/space-time continuum thing feels overdone by now.

Predictions

Score – Possibly!

Sound mixing – Probable

Sound editing – Probable

Production Design – This one is a tough category…I can’t make a call yet.

Visual Effects – Um, a Christopher Nolan brain-buster vs 3 superhero movies and monkeys who didn’t win their first time around? Yeah, I’m gonna go with probable.

 

 

American Sniper

Movie: American Sniper
What it’s up for: Best Picture, Leading Actor, Film Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Adapted Screenplay

American Sniper follows the real life story of Chris Kyle, a sniper with the US Navy SEALS who did four tours in the Iraq War. The film shows Kyle’s work overseas and his attempts to balance a life of war with his life at home. That’s probably the shortest synopsis ever but I don’t want to reveal too much for those who don’t know his story and don’t want spoilers. I found this article from USA Today quite interesting and a great addendum to the movie.

Bradley Cooper stars as Chris Kyle, but I don’t think that that is his greatest accomplishment regarding this film. Yes, he gained 40 pounds of muscle. Yes, he trained with ex-military, including a sniper who served with Kyle. But Bradley Cooper was also one of the producers and dedicated to telling Kyle’s story accurately and with respect.  He was one of the original backers and sought for the best through the different stages of production the film went through. That being said, he did a fantastic job as an actor. Chris Kyle’s wife helped him with his character development and was more than pleased with the final product. That’s probably the best commendation a role like this can get. I’m realizing more and more this year that I have a subconscious bias towards actors. Not in a bad way, per say, but in that a film is made or broken for me based on the production of the film, not the acting. Very few actors WOW me. I can fully appreciate the sincere effort that Cooper put in to this character, though, and that alone makes me believe that he deserves his nomination.

The screenplay is good, but a little choppy at times as it goes back and forth between state-side life and Iraq life. It does a great job at conveying an overall heaviness to the story – like a burden they’re sharing with the audience. It opens your eyes to the difficulty of choosing to take a life in order to save a life (or multiple lives). They don’t over-glorify or idealize the military or war, which is refreshing for a “war movie”. You can tell the writers were intentional with the script. The film editing accentuates the screenplay well. It does a fantastic job of helping clarify what’s going on without making it look fake. (There was one special effects snafu that still bugs me – a missile hitting a building in the distance a little too quickly – but that’s probably not the film editor’s fault.)

Sound editing and sound mixing are crucial to war movies and are often recognized for that effort. American Sniper is no different. The team’s biggest accomplishment is during a scene where Kyle’s unit gets trapped in a firefight during a sandstorm. It is one of the most dramatic scenes of the entire movie and is made more powerful by IMAX speaker systems where you can hear the sand swirling around you as bullets fly past.

American Sniper is a character study. In that regard, it accomplishes much more than you would typically see from a war movie. It humanizes and reveals much more about a military that – to the vast majority – is often seen as a distant and somewhat fictional entity.

Predictions

Best Picture –  Unlikely

Leading Actor – As of now, I’d say it’s unlikely…however the Academy does love Bradley Cooper.

Adapted Screenplay – Unlikely…but that is based solely on my bias towards the Academy since I haven’t seen any of the other films in this category yet.

Film Editing – Can’t tell yet.

Sound Editing – Unlikely

Sound Mixing – More likely than sound editing but since they usually give both to the same movie (particularly in the last few years), I still think the sounds will go to one of the more fiction-y films.

Foxcatcher

Movie: Foxcatcher
What it’s up for: Leading Actor, Supporting Actor, Director, Makeup, Original Screenplay

Foxcatcher is a movie based on the story of Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) and his relationships with his older brother David (Mark Ruffalo) and John du Pont (Steve Carell), a rich benefactor for the USA wrestling team. Mark tries to make a name for himself apart from his brother by taking du Pont on as a coach and financial backer for his training.

All in all, this is an unremarkable movie – with the exception of one thing: Steve freaking Carell. This movie is worth seeing JUST for his performance. I’ve seen 3 of the 5 movies that were nominated for best actor and I would pick him right now. His Oscar-worthiness comes from the fact that John du Pont is completely different from any character he has ever played. There is a dark, brooding nature to du Pont that Carell captures perfectly. He is menacing without any obvious reason for it. He’s that guy that you feel creeped out by but can’t exactly figure out why. Carell has played serious roles before, but none that have completely transformed him. A large part of that credit goes to the makeup department. Their nomination was not unwarranted. They did excellent work not only with Carell but also with Ruffalo and Tatum.

Speaking of Mark Ruffalo, he also did an excellent job but, to me, didn’t seem any more remarkable than some of his other roles. It felt like his role was meant to be expanded. He and Channing both altered their physical and vocal performances to match the unique athleticism that comes from being a wrestler. That being said, I thought Channing Tatum did an amazing job and created a character that was farther out of his wheelhouse than Mark Ruffalo. I wouldn’t nominate him for a supporting actor Oscar, but I thought his transformation was more memorable than Ruffalo.

Bennett Miller’s directing had its moments, for sure. There’s no doubt that the actors’ success was due to his direction. With the amount of unspoken tension and conflict inherent between different characters, their development was dependent on positioning, body language, and camera work. That being said, most of the cinematography was bland. There were some beautiful shots of landscapes but it came off as typical. There was also a big anachronism that could’ve been easily avoided. (Hotel room doors with card key entrances in the late 80s/early 90s? Although that’s when the transition began, it wasn’t until the late 1990s that most hotels had transitioned to key cards.) What’s funny is that the last time I noticed a big anachronism in a movie was in Bennett Miller’s previous Oscar nominee Moneyball… 

The screenplay was only ok. I wasn’t impressed by the script as a whole. I often felt confused about the goals of the characters and the point of certain aspects of the movie. The pace stayed the same throughout almost the whole film and as a whole, it was rather boring. Since I did not know the full story of the Schultz brothers and their relationship with du Pont, I kept waiting for conflict in the plot and kept being disappointed because *SPOILER ALERT* the real conflict didn’t come until the very end. I did read Mark Schultz’ complaints about the movie before I went to see it, but I felt like his objections were unwarranted. It did not come across as if Mark actually looked up to du Pont as a mentor, nor was there any suggestion of Mark being emotionally fragile or weak.

The movie was good but not great. The winning aspect was definitely Steve Carell. It would be interesting to watch it again knowing how it ends to see if that makes the story more intriguing.

Predictions
Leading Actor: Probable but I have a hard time convincing myself that the Academy would actually give Steve Carell an Oscar. I think he deserves it though.

Supporting Actor: Unlikely

Director: Unlikely

Makeup: Very possible! Although the sheer amount of makeup required for Guardians of the Galaxy makes it quite the contender.

Original Screenplay: Unlikely. There are much stronger candidates in this category.

Birdman

Movie: Birdman (Or, The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
What it’s up for: Best Picture, Leading Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Cinematography, Director, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Original Screenplay

Let’s start this year off with a bang, shall we? Warning: This one’s gonna be a little long due to the sheer number of nominations.

From the moment I saw that Birdman had a secondary title (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), I knew things were going to be interesting. The movie follows former-blockbuster-actor-turned-Broadway-play-writer Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton) as he and his cast and crew are preparing for the opening of their play. Riggan struggles with his identity as an actor who is known so prominently as a cinema superhero but wants to create art at a different level. As preparations progress, one of the actors has an accident and is replaced by Mike (Edward Norton) who has already made a name for himself in the stage acting world.

I will say that when I watch movies, I tend to focus on the technical aspects more than the actors. Therefore, in my opinion, I thought that the cinematography was the most outstanding characteristic of the movie. About five or ten minutes into the movie, I realized something – almost the entire movie is one “continuous” shot. (I put continuous in quotation marks because it looks like it was all shot in one smooth stroke but is in fact accomplished through some very clever transitions.) It is THE most unique cinematography and directing choice I have ever experienced. I had thought that the burden of that kind of filming was on the editor, but my father (who is a videography professional) told me that what it really takes is an amazing director to accomplish continuous shots and seamless transitions. Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu is a Mexican director who also wrote the screenplay for the film. Seeing as the screenplay and direction go hand-in-hand, you can see how Iñárritu being at the helm of both helped create a smooth and astounding end product. On top of the breath-taking effect of an almost two-hour long continuous shot, the rest of the cinematography aspects were also unique and beautiful. The use of camera angles and lighting in particular were memorable, including several ways of using mirrors that I had never seen before.

The nominations for sound editing and sound mixing I don’t particularly understand considering all the movies that came out this year that required the creation of lots of new sounds and difficult soundscapes. There were quite a few special effects that required some good editing. The rest of the movie was almost devoid of background noise except for the score which was entirely composed of just music from a drum set. The score was disqualified from consideration by the Academy, but their reasoning doesn’t make much sense. The drum score keeps the plot moving at a hurried pace that accentuates what’s happening on-screen exactly how a good score should. I was thoroughly expecting a nomination.

Ok, on to acting. Out of the three nominated for Oscars (Keaton, Stone, Norton), Keaton stood out to me the most. The fact that he basically IS Riggan (as in, former superhero turned artsy), it brings his performance to a whole new level. The specific comment I wrote in my notebook after seeing the movie regarding his acting was “Holy crap”. I’ve only seen one other of the leading actor nominees so far, so it’s hard to tell how he compares to the others at this point.. Stone and Norton were excellent but they didn’t wow me in the same way. Emma Stone (as Riggan’s recovering drug addict daughter) in particular was her typical amazing self…but emphasis on “typical”. Meanwhile, Zach Galifianakis was so unique that I didn’t even realize it was him at first! Sure, it wasn’t “best supporting actor” material, but he still deserves some recognition.

The film as a whole is thought-provoking and unique. It criticizes critics and puts the audience into the viewpoint of an actor. It opened my eyes to some new thoughts and perspectives. The greatest guilt trip given by the film is that “people” only want explosions from their on-screen stories, not art. That criticism immediately made it Oscar fodder so I’m not surprised that it got so much attention from the Academy.

One last comment….SPOILER ALERT:

Riggan kills himself at the end after reaching a very low point and it is frightening reminder of Robin Williams’ tragic death this past year. It is quite the coincidence.

Predictions
*As this is my first post and one of the first movies I saw this year in many of the categories it’s been nominated for, I’m not posting my predictions yet. Stay tuned…

2015 Oscar Nominations

While waiting for the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, I read through this year’s nominee list for the first time. I immediately got the sense that it was a weird list, even without having heard of at least a third of the movies. There are 36 different movies nominated for an Oscar this year, which is the second highest amount in the last 5 years. Of all the things the critics are surprised about, the only one I can align myself with now is that The Lego Movie got snubbed for Animated Feature Film!

So for now, here’s a list of the nominees (as usual – for the purpose of this blog – minus the documentaries, short films, and foreign language films):

Best Picture
“American Sniper” Clint Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Andrew Lazar, Bradley Cooper and Peter Morgan,Producers
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher and James W. Skotchdopole, Producers
“Boyhood” Richard Linklater and Cathleen Sutherland, Producers
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales and Jeremy Dawson, Producers
“The Imitation Game” Nora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky and Teddy Schwarzman, Producers
“Selma” Christian Colson, Oprah Winfrey, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, Producers
“The Theory of Everything” Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce and Anthony McCarten, Producers
“Whiplash” Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook and David Lancaster, Producers

Actor
Steve Carell in “Foxcatcher”
Bradley Cooper in “American Sniper”
Benedict Cumberbatch in “The Imitation Game”
Michael Keaton in “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
Eddie Redmayne in “The Theory of Everything”

Supporting Actor
Robert Duvall in “The Judge”
Ethan Hawke in “Boyhood”
Edward Norton in “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
Mark Ruffalo in “Foxcatcher”
J.K. Simmons in “Whiplash”

Actress
Marion Cotillard in “Two Days, One Night”
Felicity Jones in “The Theory of Everything”
Julianne Moore in “Still Alice”
Rosamund Pike in “Gone Girl”
Reese Witherspoon in “Wild”

Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette in “Boyhood”
Laura Dern in “Wild”
Keira Knightley in “The Imitation Game”
Emma Stone in “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
Meryl Streep in “Into the Woods”

Animated Feature
“Big Hero 6” Don Hall, Chris Williams and Roy Conli
“The Boxtrolls” Anthony Stacchi, Graham Annable and Travis Knight
“How to Train Your Dragon 2” Dean DeBlois and Bonnie Arnold
“Song of the Sea” Tomm Moore and Paul Young
“The Tale of the Princess Kaguya” Isao Takahata and Yoshiaki Nishimura

Adapted Screenplay
“American Sniper” Written by Jason Hall
“The Imitation Game” Written by Graham Moore
“Inherent Vice” Written for the screen by Paul Thomas Anderson
“The Theory of Everything” Screenplay by Anthony McCarten
“Whiplash” Written by Damien Chazelle

Original Screenplay
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” 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

Cinematography
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Emmanuel Lubezki
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Robert Yeoman
“Ida” Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski
“Mr. Turner” Dick Pope
“Unbroken” Roger Deakins

Costume Design
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Milena Canonero
“Inherent Vice” Mark Bridges
“Into the Woods” Colleen Atwood
“Maleficent” Anna B. Sheppard and Jane Clive
“Mr. Turner” Jacqueline Durran

Director
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Alejandro G. Iñárritu
“Boyhood” Richard Linklater
“Foxcatcher” Bennett Miller
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Wes Anderson
“The Imitation Game” Morten Tyldum

Film Editing
“American Sniper” Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach
“Boyhood” Sandra Adair
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Barney Pilling
“The Imitation Game” William Goldenberg
“Whiplash” Tom Cross

Makeup and Hairstyling
“Foxcatcher” Bill Corso and Dennis Liddiard
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier
“Guardians of the Galaxy” Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou and David White

Original Score
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Alexandre Desplat
“The Imitation Game” Alexandre Desplat
“Interstellar” Hans Zimmer
“Mr. Turner” Gary Yershon
“The Theory of Everything” Jóhann Jóhannsson

Original Song
“Everything Is Awesome” from “The Lego Movie”
Music and Lyric by Shawn Patterson
“Glory” from “Selma”
Music and Lyric by John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn
“Grateful” from “Beyond the Lights”
Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from “Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me”
Music and Lyric by Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond
“Lost Stars” from “Begin Again”
Music and Lyric by Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois

Production Design
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
“The Imitation Game” Production Design: Maria Djurkovic; Set Decoration: Tatiana Macdonald
“Interstellar” Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Gary Fettis
“Into the Woods” Production Design: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
“Mr. Turner” Production Design: Suzie Davies; Set Decoration: Charlotte Watts

Sound Editing
“American Sniper” Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Martín Hernández and Aaron Glascock
“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” Brent Burge and Jason Canovas
“Interstellar” Richard King
“Unbroken” Becky Sullivan and Andrew DeCristofaro

Sound Mixing
“American Sniper” John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Walt Martin
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and Thomas Varga
“Interstellar” Gary A. Rizzo, Gregg Landaker and Mark Weingarten
“Unbroken” Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and David Lee
“Whiplash” Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley

Visual Effects
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Bryan Grill and Dan Sudick
“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett and Erik Winquist
“Guardians of the Galaxy” Stephane Ceretti, Nicolas Aithadi, Jonathan Fawkner and Paul Corbould
“Interstellar” Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher
“X-Men: Days of Future Past” Richard Stammers, Lou Pecora, Tim Crosbie and Cameron Waldbauer

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