Oscar Nomination Reactions 2015

So the Academy Award nominations are finally out, and your fellow film editors on Live in Limbo have something to say about it. When the Academy Awards air on television on February 22nd, we will see who wins and by then, we will have our predictions made via our Capsule podcast (where we will have a panel made up of last year’s members) and our thoughts declared. For now, Dakota Arsenault and I have reacted to the nominations and have summarized our thoughts in five short answers for five questions. Here they are:

1. What was the greatest surprise?

Andreas: Seeing Laura Dern getting nominated for her work in Wild. I thought she would have been someone who would have been overlooked, and let’s face it, she certainly has been before (Inland Empire, anyone?). Well, no cows were used to promote here this time, and she snuck into the best supporting actress category. Well done!

Dakota: The biggest surprises for me are Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke both getting nominated for their supporting roles in Boyhood. While it seemed like Arquette was going to get in, I wasn’t seeing much buzz about Hawke even though he gave a very honest performance. I also am always pleased when non-English films receive nominations outside of the Best Foreign Film category. This year Marion Cotillard got a Best Actress nom for Two Days, One Night and Ida getting a Cinematography spot it shows they can compete with the Hollywood big guns too.

2. What was the biggest snub?

Andreas: Nightcrawler. Nightcrawler, Nightcrawler, Nightcrawler. A single nomination for such an intense movie is simply not enough. Nothing for Jake Gyllenhaal is a crime. No recognition for the cinematography and editing is befuddling. There are only eight best picture nominations, and they didn’t feel the need to squeeze this film in (when it should have pranced right on in as it deserved to, never mind).

Dakota: Overall there are many snubs this year, from Jake Gyllenhall and everyone involved from Nightcrawler got a big fat zero except for an Original Screenplay nomination to Selma getting a flimsy two nominations, thankfully one of which is Best Picture. The biggest snub is The Lego Movie not getting a shoe in nomination for Best Animated Film, a category it was predicted to win. On the smaller side of things I was disappointed that Life Itself, the documentary about everyone’s favourite film critic Roger Ebert who just passed away was skipped over too.

3. What was the strongest category?

Andreas: The Best Actress category is so strong, it can break the whole ceremony. While Moore is a frontrunner to win and a most likely shoe-in, to see Witherspoon and Pike get nominated (as expected) along with Jones and Cotillard (which are terrific choices) is great. You never know the power a dark horse and last minute promoting can have (remember when The Social Network was meant to win it all?).

Dakota: Normally there are a few filler nominations in one or both of the female acting side of things, but this year was especially strong for the ladies. All five of the leading ladies turned in award winning caliber performances. Moore, Witherspoon, Cotillard, Pike and Jones are all considered great actors in their own right and seeing them square off will be interesting. Also a pleasant surprise is the Visual Effects category, which normally has stinkers like Transformers and Real Steel in it is instead packed with solid movies. Who didn’t enjoy Guardians of the Galaxy or Dawn of the Planet of the Apes? 

4. What was the weirdest surprise?

Andreas: Seeing Robert Duvall getting nominated for The Judge. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge Duvall fan. The Judge just wasn’t good, though, and I don’t feel like his performance was strong enough to truly contend with the rest (especially not J.K. Simmons). Still, recognition for a great like Duvall is always welcome, but I’m sure many of us have wanted to forget The Judge.

Dakota: It certainly is odd seeing Bennett Miller score a Best Director nomination yet Foxcatcher missing out on Best Picture. With only eight nominees in the Best Picture Category it is confusing how Foxcatcher can land in five categories but miss out on the big one. Also only seeing eight nominees in Best Picture confuses me as they could have added more like Nightcrawler, Inherent Vice, Gone Girl or Interstellar to round it up to ten. I know Robert Duvall is a legacy actor but nominating him for The Judge is a disgrace, it is like Max Von Sydow getting recognized for the snooze fest that was Extremely Annoying and Incredibly Boring.

5. Do you think the clear winners you predicted to win before the announcement still have a chance?

Andreas: Boyhood will still take it all, Moore will still claim her crown and Arquette will follow along. J K Simmons will be able to yell on stage and Linklater will somehow connect that speech to his when he wins. The only “clear winner” I am uncertain of now is whether or no Carrell will win over Redmayne, who has had a huge amount of push lately (even more than Cumberbatch who was a huge favorite to win a few months ago). Redmayne could be the one to watch now.

Dakota: J.K. Simmons for Best Supporting Actor, Julianne Moore for Best Actress and Patricia Arquette all seem like locks to win their acting categories. The media loves to play up these races and I’m sure we will all hear about how Edward Norton, Ethan Hawke, Reese Witherspoon and Keira Knightly will all be neck and neck but unless Moore eats a live baby there won’t be any changing of those categories. Frankly I would even include Boyhood for Best Picture as a near lock as Birdman its closest possible contender is too weird and The Grand Budapest Hotel couldn’t even eke out a Best Actor nomination for its charming lead Ralph Finnes.

About author

Former Film Editor & Music Writer at Live in Limbo. Co-host of the Capsule Podcast. A Greek/South African film enthusiast. He has recently earned a BFA honours degree in Cinema Studies at York University. He is also heavily into music, as he can play a number of instruments and was even in a few bands. He writes about both films and music constantly. You should follow him on Twitter @Andreasbabs.