I LOVE Oscars season. I spend a ridiculous amount of time going to the movies in this period and critiquing and enjoying the best that the film world has to offer. December and January is flavour country for people who enjoy cinema and/or enjoy the comedic stylings of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.
But then the Oscars nominations come out and the movie-going public starts to realise that only a tiny subset of movies is getting honoured. And, chances are, they’re not the ones that you really love.
How dare that homogenous group of upper-class, liberal, white old men all choose in a similar fashion?
HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN?
Because it happens every year, that’s how. The Academy Awards are a great time of year to start getting offended. Just ask anyone who has the misfortune to be black or female.
Luckily I’m here to give you a little fun and a few predictions for the upcoming Oscar season.
Today, here’s the top 5 movies that the Academy ignored that you should go see.
1. The Lego Movie
I know, I know.
You’ve already seen the Lego Movie.
But in a world where they can nominate five different nominees for Best Animated Feature Film, how exactly did The Lego Movie not get nominated? Was it because people don’t love Chris Pratt?
WRONG EVERYBODY LOVES CHRIS PRATT, EVERYBODY. HE IS OUR NEW RAYMOND.
Was it because people hate Batman?
Don’t make Batman sad, he’s got enough going on.
No, it’s just that the Academy struggle to reward real innovation and excellence. Which is how films like The Imitation Game get 8 Oscar nominations, while The Lego Movie gets zero.
The Lego Movie is joyful, innovative, clever and genuinely funny. One of the best ‘movie for all ages’ types in years.
Nightcrawler is not a movie for all ages, but don’t let that stop you. It’s genuinely awesome. It’s a travesty that Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo didn’t get Oscar noms for it and I am not a man accustomed to standing for the rights of the Gyllenhaals. But Gyllenhaal’s performance as the smarmy, opportunistic, despicable Lou Bloom is masterful. The deep look into the decidedly creepy work of filming crash footage is also scored brilliantly by James Newton Howard, giving it a dark, neo-nineties feel despite being very much a modern film.
3) Gone Girl
I don’t want to over-write this as I know it will feature highly in my end-of-year reviews, but Gone Girl is a mystery/thriller written exactly how it should. Ben Affleck continues to do an awesome job of portraying an average Joe who is either stuck in a terrible situation, or has created it. His ability to hold the movie together with a very simple performance is impressive – though not as impressive as Rosamund Pike in the role of his wife.
I’m not sure what more a film should do to get nominated. Great director (David Fincher), great story by author Gillian Flynn, great acting all-round (including by…Tyler Perry? Yes, Tyler Perry). It’s truly disappointing.
But go see it and choose for yourself.
4) Guardians Of The Galaxy
THE YEAR OF PRATT CONTINUES!
Chris Pratt destroyed 2014, never more so than in this ridiculous, idiotic, brilliant romp. Pratt plays the self-titled Star-Lord, which is brilliant in itself, then flawlessly combines action hero with comedic lead as he takes his gallivanting group of multi-coloured fighters across the fictional galaxy.
On that – seriously Zoe Saldana, I’m sure you’re really pretty in your own right. Don’t bow to the conformity of changing your skin colour every film. Bradley Cooper may have to devolve into a hilarious hybrid-raccoon creature – and could seriously have had a Best Supporting nom for it – but YOU should fight to keep your skin colour normal, just once. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
If you haven’t seen Guardians Of The Galaxy, go see it. Even if you’re not the comic-book adaptation type, it’s hard not to like this film. Especially Vin Diesel stealing every scene as Groot, the talking tree-thing.
5) Into The Woods
Another idiotic, brilliant romp, Into The Woods serves as a vehicle for Rob Marshall to keep making well-received musical films, while allowing his cast to have heaps of fun mucking around with fairy tales.
If you can’t enjoy ‘Jack’ (of Beanstalk fame) continuously being confused about whether his cow is male or female, or Emily Blunt’s star-struck Baker’s Wife, or Meryl’s incredible MERYLITY™, then SURELY you can enjoy Chris Pine over-acting, but this time on purpose:
Into The Woods will be some of the most fun you can possibly have at the cinemas, once you remember like me that it’s Anna Kendrick (not Kristen Stewart, phew) and that Johnny Depp’s Big Bad Wolf is not, probably, almost definitely, I guess and hope, impersonating a child predator.
In cinemas now. Check it out!
Later this month:
The best films of the 2014 season, the best films of the 2015 Oscar season and my predictions and hopes for the 2015 Academy Awards.
Now go get out of the sunshine and watch some films.