This year I made it a goal to watch all of the movies nominated for the Academy Awards Best Picture prior to the awards show this Sunday. I am pleased to say that as of just last night I have finished the list!! I’ve got just a few more to go before I finish watching all of the movies in several other categories as well.
After lots of thinking I am finally prepared to rank my favorites and predict the winner for the Academy Awards Best Picture. I’ve got them listed out below in the order I would rank them if I were the only one picking the winners with reasoning as to why they ended up in that spot and an overall movie grade.
If you’re just here to find out what I predict as the Best Picture winner, you can scroll to the bottom for that – but that’s just not as fun.
Ranking the Academy Awards Best Picture Nominees
8. Birdman: D
Nominated for: Best Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Cinematography, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing
I get that critics liked this movie, and I can appreciate the way it was filmed… but did I like it? No way in hell. Did Ben enjoy it? He didn’t even enjoy the half he stayed awake for. We were both glad we saw this movie for free because paying for this would have felt like a waste of money. It’s on the bottom of my list for a reason.
Had Boyhood not come out this year I would think this movie may have earned best director. As far as the other categories it is nominated in, it is very deserving of cinematography as the movie was filmed to look as though it is one stream of consciousness, when it is really several clips pieced together.
Okay, that was the nicest thing I can say about this one.
7. American Sniper: C
Nominated for Best: Picture, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Film Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing
Say I’m wrong I don’t care. But when I look at this list of movies for Best Picture I just don’t see this one fitting in or winning the award. Don’t get me wrong, it was a great movie; Ben and I talked about it the rest of the night and looked up more details on the Chris Kyle story. But when it comes down to my list of favorites this one is not anywhere close to the top.
6. The Grand Budapest Hotel: C+
Nominated for: Best Picture, Director, Original Screenplay
I enjoyed watching this movie; in fact I watched it three times (two of those being on a very small TV plane). While this movie was good, it did not stand out to me. It was released back in March, almost a year ago, and in that time I feel like it’s gotten pushed down to the bottom of the pack in this group as most of these movies were recently released and more memorable. The Grand Budapest Hotel won the Golden Globe for best comedy this year, but I think it’s a far cry from winning the Oscar against this list of dramas.
5. Selma: B-
Nominated for: Best Picture, Original Song
Is it a shame to say I was expecting more out of this movie? Don’t get me wrong, it was a good movie, and it had powerful messages and scenarios from history that are still relevant today.. but maybe it was all the hype around the movie that made me think it would be better than it was. I really enjoyed the last twenty minutes, but I feel like if I had watched a documentary on Selma I would have had the same reaction. I learned a bit of American history that I didn’t know before, but ultimately it didn’t really do anything for me like these next four did.
4. Boyhood: B+
Nominated for: Best Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Film Editing
Have you seen Boyhood yet? It’s a fantastic movie following the life of a young boy and his family filmed with the same cast over twelve years. I LOVED this movie. The way it was filmed I felt like I was watching a boy grow up right before my eyes. The actors were fantastic, the way the film was phenomenal. It is sure to win some awards at the Oscars.
Richard Linklater does a great job at directing this film and is sure to take home the top prize for this movie as best director – I mean how could he not when he had the vision to seamlessly put together a movie for twelve years?
While I did love this movie, it wasn’t a movie I felt like I needed to watch again. It left a lot of questions for me at the end, but they were mostly questions for the director and how the film was made… not so much a desire to watch the film again for the answers to those questions… although I have watched it twice.
3. The Theory of Everything: A
Nominated for: Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Original Score
I’m ashamed to admit I knew nothing about Stephen Hawking prior to watching this movie. I mean I knew who he was, but I didn’t really know about his theories. Please tell me I am not the only one.
I was blown away by the acting in this movie. I thought for sure that Benedict Cumberbatch would win Best Actor when I saw The Imitation Game, but Eddie Redmayne played Stephen Hawking so well that I actually thought what I was watching was Stephen Hawking portraying himself. Eddie will hands down win the Best Actor award, but as for best movie I’m not certain.
As for overall movie, I’m not sure how to rank a movie that made me cry for 75% of it. It’s a heartbreaking and inspiring movie, one that you shouldn’t pass up watching if you have the opportunity.
2. The Imitation Game: A
Nominated for: Best Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actress, Film Editing, Original Score, Production Design
Ranking The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything was incredibly hard to do. If I could put them both in this spot I would. Wait, I’d actually put them in the 1.5 spot because they are so close to Whiplash that they don’t deserve to be ranked any lower. But someone’s got to win right?
I left the theater wanting to know more about the life of Allen Turing, and how his invention of the computer allowed the allies to win WWII. His creation and his personal life are played out so well by Benedict Cumberbatch in this film.
This movie slightly edges out The Theory of Everything in my rankings because it’s one that I would watch again. Whereas The Theory of Everything, while great, is a more, “I’ve seen it already, don’t need to see it again” kind of movie.
1. Whiplash: A+
Nominated for: Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Film Editing, Sound Mixing
I cannot tell you the last time I heard an audience give a round of applause at the end of a movie like I heard during Whiplash. This movie in my personal opinion is the best movie on the list… followed in close second by my 2nd through 4th choices. It was seriously tough to decide what movie to put at the top, but just thinking about how this movie made me feel weeks after watching I still have goosebumps.
J.K. Simmons plays the role of an intense music teacher of the top school in New York City. His teaching methods are brutal, and he goes through a range of emotions in the film. He’s already won a Golden Globe for his performance and I have no doubt he will take home the Oscar. His skills, coupled with the story line, the music, and the intensity of the film had me on the edge of my seat through its entirety. I don’t think I even took a breath through the last ten minutes of the movie. How I made it out of there without passing out I have no idea.
Whiplash may seem like the total underdog on this list, and that’s because it is it’s one of the lowest grossing movies to ever be nominated for Best Picture. I promise you though, all the people who didn’t see this movie have missed out on something incredible. It’s going to be tough to top this one as my favorite movie of 2015.
So there you have it, my pick for best picture this year… Unfortunately, Whiplash hasn’t garnered the support or recognition it needs to take home the award for Best Picture, so let’s move on to my prediction for the Oscar award winning movie.
Andrea’s Prediction for Best Picture of the 2015 Academy Awards
Let’s cut to the chase.
Yep, I believe this movie has everything needed to take home the top award at this year’s Academy Awards. A stellar cast, great story line, an outstanding director, and the fact there has never been another movie like it. The other top contender for Best Picture according to the critics is Birdman… and let’s just say if that one wins Sunday night there will be popcorn thrown at my TV.
Do you agree with my picks and prediction?
How many Best Picture movies have you seen this year?