And the Oscar goes to... Well we're just not sure. As a filmmaker and filmgoer I've had a very difficult time ordering this year's 8 nominees from best to worst, let alone name my best one. Though I have come to one conclusion - this year has been an extremely tough year for film, as many deciding factors in film have changed - technologies, emerging markets (closing markets even) and competition. Being in the industry and being a regular has to make choosing Best Picture as hard as possible - because you're trying not to influenced by others or by yourself. When making a selection, be tactical - it helps if you have insider knowledge of awards season or are in touch with social media and regularly analyse films write down the very meaning of their existence. What is it that the film sets out to do, or be or give? Forgive me for sounding all Morgan Freeman here but let's be honest - who isn't these days?
In my short-ish post today I'll be writing with my hot summer holiday mindset; laid-back - it's how I prefer to write, when its something as casual as being a film critic. Though on days I would consider myself to be a more serious writer, today's just one of those days... So, sit back and unwind - let me share with you just a few thoughts on my predictions for Best Picture 2015.
2015 has been the hardest year to predict, even more so as of late. Recently, Two groups you can usually count on; The British Academy of Film and Television Arts and the DGAs seemed to disagree with each other - at the BAFTAs, Best Film went to Richard Linklater's Boyhood and it's creator won the award for Best Director. The Director's Guild Award went to Alejandro Inarritu for Birdman. Last year it was clear the two frontrunners in the spotlight were indeed Steve McQueen for 12 Years A Slave and Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity but this year its more unpredictable than ever before - that's thanks to increased competition in film elements - for Style and Substance. What is sad in my opinion is that it seems Style is becoming more important than Substance - people are forgetting that its the story and emotion that a film evokes, to warrant a great film and people are too obsessed with the eye candy of those chocolate box shots in too many a recent film. Fundamentally, This is why Boyhood is my film to win.
The Nominee's for Best Picture, in particular order, are;
This is so difficult because I loved each and every one of those films - so they're all winners, but we have to crack the whip and whittle it down to just one. So in brief, here's why I think each is a deserving winner.
American Sniper was a true story about a Navy SEAL sniper, Chris Kyles, whose skills saved countless lives out on the frontline. He was the deadliest marksman in U.S. military history and an instant legend, though this came at a price. For a time he risked losing his family, the war had gotten to him and he was left a changed man - evidently, for worse - and its a Clint Eastwood film. I liked this film, though I kick myself for not feeling moved by it or loving it. A.S was a gripping film, very tense at times though it didn't do the war justice - it was more just about him.
I can understand very clearly how the film has gone on to become very controversial - it is a symbol of America. There is no difference between the impact and controversy of this film than with The Interview, except with this - the film is actually semi-decent. I don't want to get into a rant of "Why is America doing this... Yes we know there is Freedom of Speech, Information blah blah, but don't show it off - well you could, but you'd be risking millions of lives and a possible repeat of the cold war if you do". This is no casual statement on my behalf, this is a real possibility.
The film doesn't dig into The Iraq War, at all. It's not interested in the causes of the war itself, just Kyle within it and as with many autobiographical films, it fails to cover a wide range of issues and content. Filmmakers tend to be one-sided, when attacking this genre, and focus extensively on one particular thing rather than touching a bit of everything - but perhaps its the fear that if they do that instead - they might not be faithful to their mission. Credits to the director of course, this is very clearly an Eastwoodian film, cinematically and narratively. War & Westerns are something Clint does very well at, in front and behind the camera. Once again its a lone gunman tackling a large frontier really which is a shame because I was really looking forward to seeing this film, maybe most if not all films are being hyped up too much. Well that can be answered another time.
It's not all bad though, Sienna Miller plays Chris Kyle's wife ever so well and is probably the best thing about this movie - its about time she's taking on extraordinary roles like her subtle supporting role in Foxcatcher, she's not getting any younger and neither is the film industry by the looks of it.
Good gosh that was a long review, perhaps I was being one-sided there - well I have reason to be. Boyhood
It's Not Finished :D