January 15, 2015

A Post-Nominations Oscargasm

Congratulations to the Oscar Class of 2014!
As per tradition, every year I crankily wake up in the early morn to listen to a couple of people tell me who's nominated for Oscars. And every year, I find that in a short span of a few minutes I can fluctuate anywhere between surprised, shocked, annoyed, disappointed, overwhelmingly angry, or overwhelmingly happy. Then I come here and barf out all my thoughts. So here they are!

1. TWO NOMS, SEVEN YEARS

The biggest story (for me, obviously) is MARION COTILLARD'S BEST ACTRESS NOMINATION!! If you follow me on Twitter, you'll know that I've spent a lot of my time pondering about when Cotillard would her much-awaited second Oscar nomination. Her performance in La Vie en Rose is near and dear to my heart and it's the actress performance that turned me on to getting heavily involved in the Oscar race, and obviously getting heavily involved in the Oscar race is what ultimately led to this little blog of mine, so to say that I adore her is an understatement. I so hoped she'd get a nomination for Nine, which obviously wasn't happening that year, and I was so anticipating her nomination for Rust and Bone, but despite her hitting the Globes-SAG-BAFTA trifecta, fuckin' Oscar snubbed her anyways (let us all blame Quvenzhan√©). Weak actressing years usually mean that a foreign performance has a good chance of getting nominated, and thus I was rooting hard for her this year despite having heavy hesitations, all the more exacerbated when she missed SAG, the star-loving Globes, and the French-loving BAFTAs. So I had thought all hope was lost, and I mentally prepped myself for the 5th spot to go to somebody else (as all the signs were indicating). But lo and behold, the Oscar Gods heard my nightly prayers and finally made it happen! Let me get one thing straight: I'm not just excited because Cotillard got a nomination, I'm excited because she got a nomination despite all the odds against her. I'm excited that she got a nomination over a beloved American superstar and a recent-perennial Oscar favorite, both of whom were in pictures much more...Oscar friendly than a French language Belgian flick about a woman who runs around asking a bunch of people help her keep her job (a French language Belgian flick that didn't even gain enough traction to be shortlisted for Best Foreign Language film to boot!). I'm excited because her film (which is currently only playing in five U.S. theaters mind you), looks so small in scale and sounds so experimental--you read the synopsis and you don't think "Oscar-bait", you don't see these kinds of nominations happen every year, and that's why I'm so happy, because it feels like such an inspired nomination, exactly the kind that tends to pop up during years where the Best Actress field is desolate, perhaps sort of like Carol Kane a la Hester Street. It sort of shows that Oscar is capable of going outside the realm of "Oscar-friendly" films or "Oscar-bait", that he does have a mind of his own, that he can make offbeat decisions. I like that it'll probably be one of those nominations where, 50 years from now, when other Oscar-freaks are looking back at this year, they see this inclusion and they'll think, "How did that happen?" Funny that she seems to hit success with Oscar when it all seems difficult to achieve. And you can bet that I let out a loud yelp when I heard her name called this morning. I embarrassingly must admit that I haven't watched it yet (as I'm determined to save it as one of last to watch, since I want to watch all the other less-inspired crap first...though I haven't been able to find the time to watch anything as of late), but whatever. I'm happy for her, I'm happy for the nomination itself and all that the nomination suggests, and it's been a long time coming. 

2. GONE, GURRRRL

It seems that every year there's a nomination that I'm extremely excited about, but its very inclusion is at the expense of a different performance in which I was deeply passionate for. This year that performance belonged to Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler. Very easily my runaway number one male performance of the year (though I still have 3-4 big ones left to watch), it really, truly sucks that he couldn't get in here, and he joins a growing list of actors who hit all the big awards bodies only to miss out on the one that really matters. It sucks even more because when I had first watched Nightcrawler back in October, I just loved Gyllenhaal but I had an inkling that it wouldn't be something the Academy would respond to. But then he began raking in nomination after nomination, and then Nightcrawler hit it big with the PGAs, so I naively felt confident about his chances. But I forgot that Oscar is typically unfriendly towards young, attractive dudes with daring performances (see priorly snubbed Ryan Gosling in Blue Valentine and Michael Fassbender in Shame). So I'm quite sad about Gyllenhaal's exclusion (though it'll probably only work to his benefit when he inevitably gets a win next year for Demolition, calling it now.) I would have loved to have seen Ralph Fiennes in The Grand Budapest Hotel get in, as I found him so endearing in that film, and if you haven't already noticed, I'm a bit of a sucker for past-nominated comedic performances, but that was a real off-chance. And of course, Jennifer Aniston's snub is probably the one with the highest profile, kind of funny in the sense that she campaigned so hard but also kind of tragic for that very reason. Amy Adams' inclusion at the BAFTAs indicated that she might have been close to getting in at the Oscars, but...she didn't. I haven't seen either performance, so I'll spare you my biased and unnecessarily judgmental opinions until I force myself to sit through them this weekend. But clearly given my reaction to Cotillard's inclusion...I'm content with their snubs.


3. IMITATION NOMS

Gyllenhaal's snubbage likely came at Bradley Cooper's benefit. Again, this is a performance and film that I haven't seen. But I found its inclusion to be quite interesting. Obviously, it speaks to the film industry's infatuation for Cooper, which I can't quite get over because I recall not taking him very seriously as an actor the year Silver Linings Playbook came out (but funnily enough, I've really enjoyed him in both his nominated turns). This being his third nomination in a row (an impressive feat!), he joins the ranks of several legendary actors, though I can't quite put my finger on whether or not he's the flavor of the moment or a legitimate force to be reckoned with. Like Gyllenhaal, the Coop's pretty young and attractive as well, but what sets him aside in this case is the fact that he stars as a famous war hero in a war film (sound familiar?). Kind of funny how that is--Hollywood, being this haven for liberalism and all that jazz, every now and then likes to dip its feet into Conservative-friendly waters (see also The Blind Side), and I can't help but make the connection to my coverage on the 1940s and my bitching about how much I don't enjoy war flicks. Some preferences are forever I suppose.


4. STILL MERYL

And speaking of frequent nominations, you know I had to include a bit on Master Meryl, living legend and reigning QUEEN (I had to put it in all caps because the regularly typed "Queen" doesn't do her justice) of the Academy Awards. It starts and ends with Meryl Streep. Stephen Hawking's theory of everything is literally Meryl Streep. This is her 19th nomination. Her 19th!! It's crazy! And I'm never not in awe of her. People are always saying that they're sick of her, that they've got Meryl fatigue, that she pops up too much, etc., etc., but you have to understand, we're watching history unfold. Again, 50 years from now (I think about the future a lot) when I'm in my 70s, I envision my grandchild--who'll probably be just as obsessed with the Oscars as I am--will turn to me and ask "what was it like living during the age of Meryl Streep?" just like how I ponder to myself what it was like to live during the age of Katharine Hepburn, and I'll be able to look back to the 2010s with glowing nostalgia. Meryl's making history, annoyingly so to many, but I for one am all for it. I will applaud her as she picks up her 20th, her 25th, her 37th acting nomination, because we're witnessing something that isn't going to be achieved ever again, if not a very, very long time. So I congratulate you Meryl, and I applaud you, and I appreciate you. And I always will! What are the Oscars without Meryl Streep anyways? 
*And I can't even believe that since the start of this decade, Meryl is tied with Bradley Cooper in nomination counts. What in the world

So that's my quick thoughts. Please feel free to share with me yours on this happy day, Oscar nomination day (arguably the most exciting day of awards season as I'm pretty sure all the acting winners and picture and director are locked at this point)!
**Also, I promise that regular performance posts will commence again soon! Finding the time has been an utmost challenge y'all, but my passion is still there, I swear!!

2 comments:

  1. I wish I could give a more informed opinion, but I am seriously lagging behind this awards season. I have only watched Gone Girl and How To Train Your Dragon 2!

    Random thoughts:
    - have not watched two days, one night but Marion Cotillard's nom makes me very happy. Same for Emma Stone - have not watched Birdman, but I love both of these actresses so much that I'm really happy for them!

    - Julianne Moore! I'd like to think of this as a compensation for the Boogie Nights robbery and the other brilliant performances she has given.

    - Gone Girl would have deserved a bit more noms imo, like editing, score, adapted screenplay, directing. I will also give it a nom for best picture, but I can understand why the academy chose not to go for it.

    - it feels as if they nominated Selma just to be politically correct

    - thank goodness no Amy Adams - granted, I haven't watched Big Eyes (which looks terrible) but if she has to be nominated/win I'd rather it be for a performance that allows her to TRULY shine.

    - Other than Michael Keaton, none of the best actor nominees really excite me. Like, I don't really feel interested to watch their films :/ I mean, they could be brilliant but if gyllenhaal and oyelowo were in it I'd be MUCH more interested.

    - I feel a bit embarrassed for Aniston, since she clearly wanted that nomination.

    Unlike last year, I don't really feel this urgent need to watch any of the best picture nominees, except for Birdman and Boyhood.

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  2. I'd really like to see Moore win. I've wanted her to win ever since Far From Heaven. I was an As The World Turns watcher in the 80s too when she was on that and won a Daytime Emmy for the twins Franny & Sabrina Hughes. I still remember she wasn't at the awards and that was a bummer.

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