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Honest Thoughts on the Best Picture Nominees

Jamie Gillespie

Oscar host Neil Patrick Harris


With the Academy Awards coming up on Sunday, everyone is putting their two cents (or $11.00 since movies tickets are so expensive!) into what movie should win Best Picture. Having seen all but two of the nominees, I thought I’d join the debate with some honest thoughts of my own…

American Sniper

I love America and really love movies that inject some patriotism into the audience, so I was a big fan of “American Sniper.” It was a great film despite the plastic baby, and I’m thrilled that it was nominated for Best Picture. Unfortunately, I don’t think “inspiration-for-Oscar-winning-movie” will be added to Chris Kyle’s long list of accolades. With an all-white acting pool at this year’s Oscars and fear that “American Sniper” ignites anti-Muslim sentiment, Clint Eastwood’s adaptation will be the latest target of the overly politicized Oscars. Last time I checked, Oscars are for good movies and the Nobel Peace Prize is for activists. Somebody should remind the Academy.


“Birdman” should be named Best Picture. Of all the films nominated this year, “Birdman” has the best combination of great actors giving great performances, an original screenplay that surprises the audience, and the one-shot effect that makes the film cinematographically astonishing. On top of that, the film’s message is perfect for critics of the current superhero saturated slate of Hollywood films.


“Boyhood” is apparently phenomenal. I understand that it’s impressive to film a movie over twelve years, but isn’t that what every good sitcom does on television? “Two and a Half Men” has been filming since 2003, and America practically watched Angus T. Jones grow up on the show. If CBS had saved all the footage and released it as a movie, would Charlie Sheen have an Oscar nomination this year? In all fairness, I have not seen “Boyhood,” but even an Oscar isn’t going to get me to shell out money to see it in theaters unless they revert to the price of a movie ticket on the day they started filming.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

What a great film! It has all the quirky twists and cameos expected in a Wes Anderson flick, and I remember walking out of the theatre so happy I saw it. Regrettably, that’s about all I can remember about “Grand Budapest Hotel” because I saw it in May. The Golden Globe surprise gave me hope that this could be the sleeper hit of the season, and I would love to hear another off the wall speech from Wes Anderson to cap off an evening of sure to be unremarkable speeches.

The Imitation Game

Everyone should see this movie. Fans of “Downtown Abbey” will be as confused by Allen Leech playing a role other than Tom Branson as “Sherlock” fans seeing Benedict Cumberbatch proving he’s one of the best actors in the game, but “The Imitation Game” proves that good television isn’t the only thing coming out of British studios. Why “The Imitation Game” isn’t a more serious Oscar contender with its stellar cast, compelling screenplay, and heartbreaking reminder of history’s terrible treatment of homosexuals is a question that might need a code breaker to solve.


I don’t want to say anything that will get me in trouble because apparently “Selma” is more like “Snuba” at the Oscars this year, but the last thing I want to do is forget to include it on my list. Do you remember when everyone was upset that Ben Affleck didn’t get nominated for Best Director? “Argo” won Best Picture. “Selma” was good, but it was not the best movie this year. That’s all I’m going to say.

The Theory of Everything

I only had time to watch one of the two movies about painfully smart Brits nominated this year, and I opted for “The Imitation Game.” Sorry, Eddie Redmayne. I hear your performance is fantastic, and I’ll make it up to you by clapping when they hand you the Oscar on Sunday. Then I’ll wait to watch the movie on HBO.  


Once you see “Whiplash,” you will never again be able to watch a Farmers Insurance commercial without thinking of J.K. Simmons’ amazing performance as a sadistic jazz instructor. Miles Teller also captures the obsession of a college kid chasing a dream in a way that satisfyingly complements Simmons’ soon-to-be-Oscar-winning performance. “Whiplash” is your typical indie darling that made it to the big leagues, but don’t let a lack of Best Picture gold stop you from watching this great movie.

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