Well, my devoted cinephiles – it’s that time of year once again for the 87th annual Oscars to take over the Dolby theater (formerly known as the Kodak theater) in Hollywood this Sunday, February 22nd. Increasingly less known for actually honoring the best in cinema – versus providing a guilty excuse for high-profile celebrity gawking and the stimulation of polarizing debate and criticism – this year’s Oscars seem particularly determined to anger and annoy those of us whom make the mistake of actually caring about the nominees.
As someone whom seemingly finds less and less of those silver screen experiences, which actually justify a passion for the cinema, duly represented, this Examiner can’t help but feel particularly let down by a number of glaring flubs and omissions among this year’s contenders. What are the biggest, most WTF decisions to be immortalized by 2015’s current crop, pray tell; i.e. the films that should be duly honored and represented, and yet were head-scratchingly forgotten amidst the selectively deficient memories (if not plain bad taste) of our collective, Academy Awards voting board? What are the movies you should make a point to see, but yet will let slip into the mists of status quo time, as they fail to be properly brought to your attention on Sunday?
And the Best Picture Oscar Goes To….
While several of the 2015 best picture nominees are certainly worthy of praise, this Examiner was typically disappointed that this year’s crop neglected to include several amazing films that deserve to be nominated, if not win, this industry-coveted prize…Christopher Nolan (Memento, The Dark Knight Returns, Inception) has consistently produced some of the most intellectually-challenging and still engagingly entertaining stories, which miraculously manage to always satisfy and even exceed the simultaneous expectations of both the snobby film critic and pop culture geek in all of us. Nolan’s latest offering, Interstellar, was easily one of the greatest cinema events this movie junkie was able to find throughout 2015…Gracefully toeing the line between science-fiction and science-fact, the film chronicles the efforts of a small band of post-apocalyptic scientists and dreamers (led by Matthew McConaughy and Anne Hathaway) to explore and colonize one of the thousands of newly discovered planets that seem potentially habitable.
Throughout this continually compelling journey, Interstellar delivers one of the most emotionally satisfying and complete experiences that Nolan has ever crafted, all while simultaneously dazzling with a number of inventive ideas and thrilling set-pieces that keep one entirely enthralled throughout its ambitiously lengthy running time. Cleverly paying homage and building upon classics like Stanley Kubrick’s 2001, Interstellar still has more than enough originality and unexpected tricks up it’s sleeve to easily pave a place for itself in Oscars not-so-hallowed best picture halls, and the fact that neither the film or director himself was nominated for a Best Picture or Best Director Oscar, speaks volumes about what’s wrong with the Oscars these days. Almost as if to add insult to injury, the academy apparently has decided to nominate its solid musical score, of all things.
And the Best Actor Oscar goes to…
Another uniquely satisfying film that was frustratingly ignored in the aforementioned category (among others) is Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler, in which the always-stellar Jake Gyllenhall delivers a tour-de-performance of his career; easily his best since the cult classic that initially put his name on the radar, 2001’s Donnie Darko. The academy was thoughtful enough to at least honor it’s highly under-rated script with an appropriate nomination for Best Original Screenplay – a noirish, twisted homage to off-kilter, where-the-hell-is-this-going, 70’s cinema at its best; a dark web that enigmatically lures you into the film’s one-of-a-kind plot just long enough, before it’s too late to realize that you’ve been helplessly trapped in its hypnotically disturbing catharses. Indeed, the whole film is like a car crash that one can’t look away from – falsely assuming you can handle what’s inside the twisted wreckage until unable to eliminate the images now burned in your mind.
Almost anyone whom bothered to see the film would be hard-pressed to argue that its living, beating heart; the one element that glues it all together, that inexorably drives it up and onward towards increasingly warped and unexpectedly disturbing levels of gravitas, is particularly due to none other than Gyllenhaal’s magnetic, pitch-black and scenery-devouring (not simply “chewing,” mind you) performance. With no disrespect intended for the other deserving contenders, Gyllenhaal expertly fleshes out one of the most obviously challenging, atypical and no doubt draining characters yet portrayed on a screen in the 21st century. He must be rolling in his early grave, and I don’t blame him – someone please send him some flowers or something!
And the Best Animated Film Oscar goes to…
Did any members of the board happen to see The Lego Movie?! Are they just too inexperienced and stupid to realize that this animated tour-de-force offers the most technically-unparalleled and imaginatively gonzo animation of not simply 2015’s relevant contenders, but for the entire genre of animated film in general? Did the surprisingly rich and meaty layers of allegory, parody, satire and every other thing that’s most virtuous about the comedy genre at its best just fly over their heads, or did the How to Train Your Dragon sequel’s publicity team send out live, individually gift-wrapped, baby dragons to the members of the academy, in order to sway their votes? Your trusty Examiner does not have the answer folks – this just might represent the biggest, most undeserving flub in Oscar history, especially considering the comparably lackluster contenders (and this is coming from someone with almost no prior interest or favor towards the otherwise, seemingly ever-growing Lego franchise). This Examiner’s world has now officially been torn asunder.
Other Notable Flubs…
Best Documentary: Sirius…Only the most successful crowd-funded documentary of all time, with life and paradigm-changing implications for all humankind, not to mention history-making discoveries too amazing to not be predictably swept under the carpet by our status quo gatekeepers…Do the planet Earth a favor and buy a cheap copy from siriusdisclosure.com, as the proceeds go to a number of good causes, not least of which are some very interesting new energy technologies that have been significantly propelled and funded thanks to the heightened cosmic awareness of this invaluable effort, one in which a couple crew members were even tragically murdered for bringing it to light!
Best Foreign Language Film: Takashi Miike’s A Lesson of Evil, Alex De La Iglesia’s Witching and Bitching, and Hitoshi Matsumoto’s R100, all delectably warped concoctions, each imbued with more personality by their continually-ignored, maverick auteurs than all the other nominees combined.