Hollywood′s awards season finally came to an end on Sunday,… with the industry handing out Academy Awards. A few films were more successful than most, and of course the night wasn′t without its share of upsets.
Our film critic Pierce Conran is here to guide us through this year′s list of Oscar winners.
So Pierce, any major surprises this year?
Honestly, most of the awards were picked up by the favorites, but many were surprised about the results for Best Film and Director. Both were seen as a two-way race between BIRDMAN and BOYHOOD, with the latter a favorite for the director prize. Few expected that BIRDMAN would get both or that BOYHOOD would end the night with only one award, Best Supporting Actress for Patricia Arquette. Also a surprise was the strong showing for the smaller film WHIPLASH, which picked up three awards, including for JK Simmons as Best Supporting Actor.
So with wins for Best Director and Best Picture, many would think BIRDMAN was the big film of the night, right?
I would say that′s a fair assessment, though honestly it was less dominant than winning films have been in previous years. It won four awards, also for original screenplay and cinematography, which was the same as Wes Anderson′s THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, though the latter mostly scooped up technical prizes for production design, costumes, makeup and music. Just behind them with three, as already mentioned, was WHIPLASH, which also included awards for sound mixing and editing.
Then the awards were spread out quite evenly this year.
Absolutely. Actually, this year was the first time since 2008 that every Best Picture nominee picked up at least one award during the ceremony, though it was the first time since the category was expanded. Up to 2008, only five films were nominated. It can go up to 10 now, but this year there were 8 nominees. THE IMITATION GAME won best adapted screenplay, SELMA took original song and AMERICAN SNIPER won best sound editing.
So what′s your opinion, Pierce? Were you disappointed by any of the results?
Well, it′s inevitable that one person won′t agree with all the choices and there were certainly some I didn′t agree with. I was rooting for Michael Keaton, in BIRDMAN, to pick up Best Actor, but that award went to Eddie Redmayne, who played Stephen Hawking in THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING. It wasn′t a surprise though, as academy voters often favor performances that are very transformative. Redmayne was very good, but hardly on the level of Keaton for me, or Daniel Day-Lewis, who played another wheelchair-bound character when he won the award for MY LEFT FOOT in 1990. Even less surprising, my preference in the animated category was the Japanese animation THE TALE OF PRINCESS KAGUYA, but I knew it stood no chance of winning. On the flipside, I was very glad to see Julianne Moore win Best Actress for STILL ALICE. She′s a terrific performer and it′s great to finally see her recognized.