Post Magazine

March 2015

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Page 22 of 51 21 POST MARCH 2015 drama — the stuff Hollywood studios used to do before they began focusing on comic books, superheroes and blockbust- er franchises. It's also noteworthy that all eight noms made their debut at one of the festivals, suggesting that Sundance, Cannes, Toronto, AFI Fest et al are more important strategically than ever in terms of a high-profile, buzzy launch. Conspicuously missing from the list? Foxcatcher, although its director Bennett Miller got a directing nomination, Inter- stellar, Gone Girl, the musical Into the Woods and Angelina Jolie's Unbroken. And the Oscar went to Birdman, surprising many insiders who felt cer- tain that the frenetic, offbeat, magical realism-infused film was just too artsy and quirky for the Academy's notori- ously conservative voters, and that the experimental 'real life' of Boyhood or the traditional biopics would appeal far more. But Boyhood, which initially seemed to have the momentum behind it, stumbled towards the end of the race at the DGA and Producers awards, and was ultimately shut out of five of its six noms, winning only for Patricia Arquette as Best Supporting Actress. Meanwhile, Fox Searchlight, the 'indie' division of Fox, ran a strong campaign, building on Birdman's adoring reception at the Venice Film Festival, and repeating its 12 Years a Slave success from last year. And it was an even more noticeable victo- ry when you consider that Birdman, a kinetic tour-de-force, which pokes fun at Hollywood's obsession with superheroes and comic book characters, has so far made barely $40 million, making it the lowest-earning Best Picture winner since The Hurt Locker in 2009. BEST DIRECTOR The five directing nominations — Alejan- dro Gonzalez Inarritu (Birdman), Rich- ard Linklater (Boyhood), Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher), Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game) — raised some eyebrows when they were announced, with many asking, "Where are the women?" But Oscar snubbed Ava DuVernay for Selma and Angelina Jolie for Unbroken, instead giving Anderson his first ever directing nomination (he was previously nomi- nated for Best Screenplay) and Miller a coveted slot, even though his film was excluded from the Best Picture category (and he was the only nominee not nom- inated by the DGA, who gave the nom- ination to Clint Eastwood for American Sniper). And while Miller and Inarritu are previous Director nominees, it's inter- esting to note that all five directors are iconoclasts, largely doing their own thing outside the Hollywood studio machine. And the Oscar went to Alejandro Gon- zalez Inarritu — again surprising many who thought that Linklater was going to win for Boyhood, especially after he won the Gold- en Globe. But then Linklater lost traction when he lost to Inarritu at the DGA awards (one of the top indicators of likely Oscar voting, as since 1948 all but seven DGA winners have gone on to win the Oscar), and Fox Searchlight again ran a masterful campaign for Birdman and Best Director, and the voters increasingly embraced the intense, ground-breaking dramedy. CINEMATOGRAPHY Another banner year for DPs and a varied range of beautifully-shot films, with Oscar honoring Emmanuel Lubezki for Birdman, Robert D. Yeoman for The Grand Budapest Hotel, Dick Pope for Mr. Turner, Roger Deakins for Unbroken, and Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lynzews- ki for Ida. It's been a close race, with a sentimental favorite like Deakins up for his 12th nomination (with no wins so far), Pope up for his second, Lubezki also up for his second (he won for Gravity last year), and Yeoman scoring his debut nom. And then there was dark horse Ida, the Polish drama set in the '60s, also nominated for Foreign Language Film. It was shot in luminous B&W by Zal and Lynzewski, who also were nominated for the first time. Interestingly, although snubbed in the Best Picture, Director and acting cate- gories, Unbroken finally got some Oscar love here, along with nods for Sound Editing and Sound Mixing. And the Oscar went to Emmanuel Lubezki for Birdman, another shocker to some, given that the DP also won just last year for his work on Gravity, and that sentimental favorite Roger Deakins again did sterling work on Unboken. But given that Lubezki had already won such key indicators as the ASC, BAFTA and Spirit awards, along with most of the major critics awards, he was always the heavy favorite in the race. FILM EDITING Always a tricky category to predict, and often full of surprises, both in terms of the nominees and the eventual winner. Top: Sound Editing winner, American Sniper; Middle: The Grand Budapest Hotel was honored for Hair & Make Up, Costume Design, Production Design and Original Score; Bottom: Whiplash, winner for Editing, Sound Mixing and Supporting Actor.

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