The awards season is in full swing with the announcement of the 2015 Academy Awards nominations early this morning. The coveted title of Best Picture of the year is full of top-notch contenders that highlight an excellent year in filmmaking.
The films vying for Best Picture this year begin with American Sniper, which has yet to receive a nation-wide release, but has apparently proved to sit very well with those who saw advance screenings. The film stars Bradley Cooper, who received an Oscar nod for his performance, as Chris Kyle, one of the Navy SEAL’s best snipers. His fine-tuned accuracy with a firearm allows him to save a great number of lives, deeming him a legend in many eyes. However, when Chris returns home to his family after his multiple tours of duty he, in fact, cannot seem to rid the events of the war from his mind.
Birdman is the second Academy Awards nominee for Best Picture. The film is the story of a washed-up celebrity who is known for playing the iconic superhero known as Birdman. In an attempt to reclaim his glory and respect as an actor, he takes on the challenges of performing in a Broadway play amidst many personal family troubles. The film’s cast has received its fair share of nominations for Academy Awards as well: Michael Keaton for Best Leading Actor, Edward Norton for Best Supporting Actor and Emma Stone for Best Supporting Actress. Alejandro G. Iñárritu served as the director for the film and also received an Oscar nod.
The next contender is Boyhood. This film, regardless of its winnings, is a milestone in filmmaking history as it was shot over a period of 12 years with the same cast. The story focuses on one boy’s transition from age 5 to 18 and audiences literally watch the cast grow up before their very eyes. The film’s director, Richard Linklater received an Academy Awards nod as did Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke for Best Supporting Actress and Best Supporting Actor, respectively.
The Grand Budapest Hotel is the next nominee, whose director, Wes Anderson, has also been given a nod. The story follows a legendary concierge who serves as mentor to the new lobby boy. Audiences are taken on their whimsical adventures in the fictional realm known as the Republic of Zubrowka in between the two World Wars.
Continuing with the Academy Awards Best Picture nominees, The Imitation Game is the next film placed in the category. Based on true events taking place during World War II, the film centers around a mathematician who uses his knowledge to break the enigma code against the Nazis with the help of his fellow colleagues. The film’s leading man and leading lady are both nominees as well: Benedict Cumberbatch for Leading Actor and Keira Knightley for Supporting Actress. Morten Tyldum, director, is also nominated.
Selma continues the list of Academy Awards contenders as the first mainstream A-picture to tell the story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The film specifically highlights Dr. King’s march from Selma, AL to Montgomery, AL in 1965. Many moviegoers have already expressed their outrage for the snubbing of David Oyelowo as Best Actor for his portrayal of the famous human rights activist as well as the snub of the movie’s director Ava DuVernay.
Next up, The Theory of Everything is announced as another nominee at this year’s Academy Awards. The biopic tells the story of a young Stephen Hawking and his inspiring story of being diagnosed and living with ALS all whilst making a historical discovery in the world of science. The two stars of the film, Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones are both nominated for Best Leading Actor and Best Leading Actress, respectively.
The final nominee is Whiplash, the story of a talented young drummer who is admitted to a highly competitive music conservatory, where he is pushed to the absolute limit by an instructor determined to bring out his fullest potential. J.K. Simmons plays the aforementioned instructor and also received a nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
The nominees for Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards are nothing short of cinematic excellence. One can find out who will take home the gold when the Oscars are broadcast live on Feb. 22, 2015.
By Cody Collier