Round Table Discussion: 2015 Academy Awards

Starshine5050: Hello and welcome to another exciting Round Table! Today, we have myself, Elessar, Fenrir, and GuyInTheThirdRow.

Elessar: Hello all. I’m actually here voluntarily for once.

Fenrir: Hello~

GuyInTheThirdRow: Damn, this is actually a nice table. Why did no one tell me we had this thing here?

Fenrir: First rule about Round Table…

Elessar: Don’t you say it.

Starshine5050: Today we are all here to talk about the upcoming 2015 Academy Awards, where the whites always get nominated and the technical awards don’t matter. First let’s start with the biggest snub of the season. Fenrir?

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Fenrir: Don’t even get me started on The Lego Movie. The Oscars has already had a spotty history with animation and the public-secret about how easily animation is forgotten. And while I stand by my belief that 2014 was a pretty darn good year for animation–the obvious winner in the pack was The Lego Movie.

Elessar: I too am more than a little irritated about The Lego Movie not getting nominated but I have bigger issues. Namely the complete and utter lack of anything besides a best picture nomination for Selma.

"Academy, we need to talk."

“Academy, we need to talk.”

Fenrir: Agreed.

GuyInTheThirdRow: Maybe I’m just feeling overly pessimistic, but I also can’t help but feel like they gave it the Best Picture nomination to throw it a bone because they KNEW people would call foul. I mean, yeah, Best Picture is the top prize…but it’s also fighting against…is it 7 or 8 other movies this year?

Fenrir: 8!

Starshine5050: I’m definitely thinking that not nominating Carmen Ejogo for Best Supporting Actress, giving it instead to Meryl Streep, is a travesty that can not be ignored.

Elessar: I’ve seen all but Theory of Everything and Whiplash on the best picture nominations and I can say, without a doubt, that the only movie more deserving of Best Picture is Birdman. Sorry, maybe Birdman. I know the academy splooshes over Streep a lot, but this is definitely one of their more bizarre nominations for her.

GuyInTheThirdRow: You know, I know a lot’s been said for how Oyelowo and Ejogo got shafted. I’d actually make the case for another cast member getting the short end of the stick out of this.

I’d honestly have been willing to make a case for Henry G. Sanders in Best Supporting Actor. Cause yeah, he’s not in a lot of the film (still more than others who’ve been nominated) but he still turns in a Hell of a performance. Especially with the scene in the coroner’s office. Dialogue there isn’t bad, but the real seller is the look on that poor guy’s face as he’s trying to process his grief over the death of his grandson. Just the look on that guy’s face is like a fist in the stomach. That’s not something you see out of many hyped performances these days.

Starshine5050: Okay, let’s move onto Want, Will, and Shouldn’t – which of the best picture nominations do you want to win, think will win, and think should not win?

Elessar: I’ll go first. I want Birdman or Selma to win. Those were the best and most unique movies of the year, and the most deserving of an Oscar. I think either Birdman or Boyhood are the big front runners. Maybe Grand Budapest Hotel on an outside, but those are the big ones (all three of which are fine). Shouldn’t? American Sniper man, shouldn’t even be nominated (and yes I know, I’m going to piss people off by saying that, I don’t care).

Starshine5050: Want is definitely Selma, though I am very charmed by The Imitation Game, Will is going to be Boyhood and Shouldn’t is both American Sniper and The Theory of Everything. Why either of those were nominated is a mystery to me.

Fenrir: So American Sniper has hype and a self-perpetuating cycle of consumer-patriotism, sure, but that does not a good film make.

GuyInTheThirdRow: I’m….actually kind of of the same mind as Elessar on this one. For a while, I had figured the ‘safe bet’ was probably going to be Imitation Game, but then American Sniper came out and the storm began. I will say, I would still also be okay with Boyhood taking it if not Birdman or Selma. If only for the sheer ambition.

It’s a weird trinity for me – in terms of straight filmmaking, I’d say Birdman was the best, but besides that Boyhood was easily the most ambitious, and though I know it’s a loaded phrase, I’d argue Selma as the most important.

Elessar: Man Todd, just hit on the head. I think I might overhype Birdman a bit, but it really did speak to me in a very real and raw way. And it is definitely one of the best made and acted movies of the year.

GuyInTheThirdRow: And as for Theory of Everything – I’m chalking it up to a mix of the PR game and the fact it plays to two of the Academy’s weak spots – safe biopics and British actors.

"Can't stop to talk! I've got an Oscar to win!"

“Can’t stop to talk! I’ve got an Oscar to win!”

Starshine5050: Speaking of actors: Want, Will, Shouldn’t for Best Actor?

Elessar: I want Michael Keaton to win, obviously. I think he will too, him or Steve Carrel maybe. Shouldn’t…do I even need to f**king say it?

GuyInTheThirdRow: Want – Keaton. Will – …you know, I think this might actually go to Keaton. Shouldn’t – …hrm…I could take or leave Redmayne, Cumberbatch, or Cooper here. That said, I do find it morbidly amusing people are wondering if the upcoming, somewhat shaky release of Jupiter Ascending could torpedo Redmayne’s chances.

Elessar: Eh, I think him being really boring will torpedo his chances. Portman had a really bad movie out right around the Oscars and she won.

Starshine5050: Like with before, if Cooper or Redmayne win I might go blind with Rage. Want, either Cumberbatch or Keaton, Will is probably Keaton which I am okay with.

GuyInTheThirdRow: I will say this – for all the noms it’s gotten, I do have my doubts the Academy is going to show Sniper as much love when it comes to it. Especially in light of all the controversy. I could be wrong, but if there’s one thing the Academy has made an artform, it’s not rocking the boat any more than they have to. And the Selma shut-out may well have burned through this year’s boat rocking.

"Yes, we've all heard about you as Batman, Ben. We've seen the photos, no one cares right now!"

“Yes, we’ve all heard about you as Batman, Ben. We’ve seen the photos, no one cares right now!”

Starshine5050: Okay, moving on to Best Actress…

Elessar: Amazing Amy Wins an Oscar! Seriously though, it shouldn’t even be a contest. Rosamund Pike should win. I think Julianne Moore WILL win, but Rosamund Pike should. And I guess Felicity Jones shouldn’t? I dunno, I keep blanking out on Theory of Everything. Like, there’s a big blank spot where it should be.

Fenrir: Hopefully it’s Rosamund Pike; while I’m miffed Gone Girl didn’t even make it to best screenplay, she did a great job bringing Amy to life in all her twists and turns.

GuyInTheThirdRow: You know, I know we’re past the snubs discussion, but I do have to get this out there – while not as egregious as the Selma snub, I do feel like genre bias screwed Essie Davis out of a possible nom this year. Cause her work on The Babadook struck a good balance of sympathetic and disturbing as Hell.

… Then again, I’d also make the case for Under the Skin getting hose for noms, but that’s a whole other mess. As far as the noms, I’m also pulling for Pike on this one. Even though I know everyone’s saying it’s Moore’s year, I’m still trusting to hope.

Elessar: But…but…it has forsaken these lands!

Fenrir: Well one can only hope; speaking of hope, at least there’s one way that The Lego Movie can shine: And that’s through an “Everything is Awesome” grand sweep win.

"I know the cameras have been pretty weird this past decade. But trust me - it's gonna be totally worth it once this is all edited together!"

“I know the cameras have been pretty weird this past decade. But trust me – it’s gonna be totally worth it once this is all edited together!”

Elessar: So. Who wants to move on to Best Supporting Actor? Because unlike Actress, this one had a pretty good year. Honestly, for me, there were a lot of good choices here. Ethan Hawke, Mark Ruffalo or ESPECIALLY Edward Norton could walk away with the prize and I’d be just fine. I think it’s gonna be Hawke, but there you go.

As for who shouldn’t be here…does anyone even remember the Judge?

GuyInTheThirdRow: Want…crap, this is tough. Will – it sounds like this one’s J.K. Simmons’s to lose…and to be perfectly frank, I’d be alright with him going home with it this year. Shouldn’t be there – …much as I like the guy, I really feel like Duvall’s was a sympathy/pity nom.

Starshine5050: Actually, I think this is the least interesting category this year. I actually don’t care who wins this one. Duvall would be nice because this might be his last big roll but I neither like nor dislike any of the other nominees. None of their performances seemed all that buzz worthy.

GuyInTheThirdRow: While I won’t begrudge him if he wins, I would be disappointed if Duvall takes this one. If only because the Academy’s record for “Sorry For…” wins is already pretty bad as it is.

"Another one? Really?"

“Another one? Really?”

Starshine5050: Best Supporting Actress isn’t much more interesting. I mean Emma Stone might actually win, and probably should, though Patricia Arquette would be good too. If it’s Meryl Streep, I swear to all that is holy I will never watch this award show ever again.

Elessar: Agreed. I honestly don’t even know why Streep is here, other than the Academy loves her like no other for…some reason. Personally I’m pulling for Stone, and I think either she or Arquette will grab it. They love to give supporting wins to odd performances (see: No Country For Old Men).

GuyInTheThirdRow: I can’t help but wonder if, at this point, even Streep’s getting bored with it.

Fenrir: It could be its own inside joke.

Starshine5050:If it is a joke, it a pretty shitty one since she takes up a slot that someone more deserving could have.

GuyInTheThirdRow: Like, she now goes more as a courtesy than anything else and I’m gonna be honest – she wasn’t bad in Into the Woods, but nothing that screamed ‘give her the Oscar’ …but then again, I have a history of disagreeing with the Academy on performances in musical movies, so to each their own, I guess.

Elessar: Like how Anne Hathaway won for “Five minute closeups: The movie”?

Starshine5050: No, cause that was actually good. Into the Woods was mediocre as fuck.

Fenrir: So it seems that overall we’re not too impressed this season? I mean, there has been good films, but the pageantry of the Oscars seems so not worth it in 2015.

Elessar: Next let’s move on to the best category: Best Original Screenplay. Aw, hell, yeah. This category is my JAM. There is not one movie that won’t cause me to leap to my feet yelling “Yeah! Name of movie B***c” like I’m Jessie Pinkman.

GuyInTheThirdRow: Screenplay reminds me. Nightcrawler got pretty screwed this year too.

Elessar: Ahem. I think Birdman will win, I think it should win and I don’t think any of them shouldn’t win.

Starshine5050: I didn’t think Grand Budapest Hotel was that well written. Wes Anderson has, by far, better movies.

GuyInTheThirdRow: This is one where I’m not really going to feel disappointed by whoever wins. There will be some I’d prefer, but at least I can still overall feel like whoever gets it earned it.

Starshine5050: I kind of want none of the adapted screenplays to win. I mean if someone has to win, I guess Inherent Vice but honestly, not loving any of them.

Elessar: Agreed. It’s sort of the counterbalance to the last one. Inherent Vice is the only good choice. That said, if there’s one that shouldn’t win…f**k off American Sniper. And I honestly have no idea who will win.

 "Okay...now if I've done this correctly, when I flip this switch, everyone will forget about that time I played Khan and pissed off a lot of Star Trek fans!"

“Okay…now if I’ve done this correctly, when I flip this switch, everyone will forget about that time I played Khan and pissed off a lot of Star Trek fans!”

Fenrir: Could be a bone toss to the Imitation Game — but when looking at that category that’s what I really want if it’s between a rock and a hard place.

Elessar: But…Motto Panacako!

GuyInTheThirdRow: One quick note on adapted screenplay Inherent Vice…seriously, they took on the elusive Thomas Pynchon and got his blessing. THAT is a feat.

Starshine5050: How are we feeling on the directors?

Elessar: Except for Imitation Game, pretty good. I think it’ll be a split year; One movie will grab director, the other will grab picture. I think it’s down to Birdman and Boyhood, so if I had to guess I’d say Birdman…which is what should win.

GuyInTheThirdRow: As far as director – I’m pulling for either Irritu or Linklater. Again, they both worked their asses off for this one.

Fenrir: I can definitely see them do a diplomatic split between those two in particular; actually the likelihood of any other nominees seems pretty low.

Starshine5050: Any last comments?

GuyInTheThirdRow: Honestly, this year is a pretty big split between ‘I’m happy with this’ and ‘How the Hell did this make it in over’. Like, I’m honestly trying to motivate myself to even watch. I may just follow the results on the web this time.

Elessar: I think despite it all, it was a good year. Yeah Selma got snubbed, and some bad movies grabbed some unworthy nominations, but some really great movies got up there too. I was 100 percent prepped for Birdman to not get noticed (like Drive in 2011 and Cloud Atlas in 2012) and here it is, my best film of the year, with 9 freaking nominations. I call that a win. Plus no technical for Transformers. Guess Paramount paid for it’s hubris…and I can’t believe I’ve never blamed Selma‘s lack of nominations.

Starshine5050: Agreed, this year’s Oscars feel like a bit of scraping the barrel of whatever came out these last two months. I never thought I’d be not excited for the Oscars and yet, here we are.

Fenrir: At least we have the Tony’s?

Starshine5050: Well hopefully. That’s it for our Round Table discussion. Let us know in the comments below who you think will win this year and we’ll be back next time when we all have an opinion about something.

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Starshine5050

As just a regular, hard-working work, often-stressing, procrastination-mastering history and journalism student, I often turn to the silver and small screens for relief, even though I'm only an average cinema-and-television loving viewer, commenting on what, and does not, makes good entertainment. I love horror everything - book, TV shows, games, movies - even though they frighten me terribly. I'm a long time believer of the old saying "When life gives you lemons, don't take life's lemons! Give the lemons back!" So, onward I go, returning lemons and logging an unhealthy amount of screen time for your enjoyment. So please be sure to read my stuff and let me know what you think, I'm alway looking to improve and be the best, most cynical critic I can be!

Latest posts by Starshine5050 (see all)

Starshine5050

As just a regular, hard-working work, often-stressing, procrastination-mastering history and journalism student, I often turn to the silver and small screens for relief, even though I'm only an average cinema-and-television loving viewer, commenting on what, and does not, makes good entertainment. I love horror everything - book, TV shows, games, movies - even though they frighten me terribly. I'm a long time believer of the old saying "When life gives you lemons, don't take life's lemons! Give the lemons back!" So, onward I go, returning lemons and logging an unhealthy amount of screen time for your enjoyment. So please be sure to read my stuff and let me know what you think, I'm alway looking to improve and be the best, most cynical critic I can be!

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