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Inherent Vice (#110 of 24)

Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions Adapted Screenplay

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Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Adapted Screenplay
Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Adapted Screenplay

We could make this one easy on ourselves and buy the narrative that every film nominated for best picture will win at least one Oscar next Sunday and call this one for The Imitation Game. But this presupposes that AMPAS members actually fill out their ballots with the intent of “spreading the wealth around” (how many Oscars did American Hustle win again?), and that Graham Moore’s adaptation of Andrew Hodges’s Alan Turing biopic isn’t one of the dullest soft balls to be pegged as a frontrunner in this category since Jason Reitman’s screenplay for Up in the Air, which lost—shockingly, if only in retrospect—to Precious.

Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions Costume Design

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Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Costume Design
Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Costume Design

Last year, my fellow Oscar guru Eric Henderson, channeling his inner RuPaul, sassily (and correctly) called this race for “the EDM-remixed, jazz-n’-titties antiquities” of The Great Gatsby, even though the film had landed face down in the Costume Designers Guild’s pool. We weren’t going out on a limb exactly, as AMPAS has shown a distinct preference for honoring duds so old that there’s no chance the winning designers could have pulled them out of their own closets. Which means that Inherent Vice’s presence here will likely be remembered, like the film itself, as a figment of a drug-addled imagination. A win for Mr. Turner, the only film here not to receive a nomination from the CDG, would be the second for a Mike Leigh production, though the film’s handsome but drab vision of painter J.M.W. Turner’s life is in sharp contrast to Topsy-Turvy’s opulent view of life in the Victorian theater. And in spite of every Ricky’s and Party City last year dumbing down Angelina Jolie’s signature look from Maleficent by repackaging it as, well, a sexy witch ensemble, a case for the film is easier to make—except three-time nominee Anna B. Sheppard must content with 11-time nominee Colleen Atwood, whose work on Into the Woods is practically a demo reel for her incredible range of fantastical styles. But Atwood is only a spoiler here, as this race belongs to another three-time winner: Milena Canonero, whose costumes for a different kind of fantasy, The Grand Budapest Hotel, the only best picture nominee in this category, are a showcase for her canny gift for delectably subtle affectation—for making clothes that could have been pulled out of Pharrell’s closet seem like they were stitched by the mice from Cinderella.

2015 Oscar Nomination Predictions

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2015 Oscar Nomination Predictions
2015 Oscar Nomination Predictions

The critics have spoken. The guilds have spoken. The Golden Globes have spoken. And here we are feeling the ennui of another three months’ worth of Mondays weighing unusually heavy this year, though it really shouldn’t be. Not all Oscar seasons boast presumptive frontrunners as stubbornly unique and personal as Boyhood or The Grand Budapest Hotel, both of which seem at this point like they would’ve cracked the lineup even in the old (and correct) days of five-deep best picture slates we’ll be telling our grandchildren about. Not all Oscar seasons are gifted by the original, cantankerous spirit of the National Society of Film Critics, which is to say the spirit of the group as it was initially conceived, as a staunch, vanguard opponent to staid groupthink. (Try to ignore the remaining instances of “ditto” among their roster of winners and savor everyone flipping their shit over Godard’s surprise victory.) So why aren’t we in a better mood than usual? Probably because we’ve seen it all go south in so many horrifying ways time and time again, and thus this year’s left us feeling a bit like the Witch staring down the “Last Midnight.” Oscars aren’t good, they’re not bad, they’re just nice. We’re not nice, we’re the hitch, and we’re definitely right.

Slant’s Top 25 Films of 2014

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Slant’s Top 25 Films of 2014
Slant’s Top 25 Films of 2014

From Clayton Dillard’s introduction to Slant Magazine’s Top 25 Films of 2014: ” In a year when The Theory of Everything and The Imitation Game offer a most banal and repressive sort of historical biopic treatment for their respective subjects (and are being largely celebrated nonetheless), it becomes ever more important to draw lines in the cinematic sand to understand what we talk about when we talk about movies. Art historian Michael Fried once wrote of the burgeoning war between theater and modernist painting, and in many ways, contemporary filmmaking is rife with similarly antagonistic, fiery battles.” Click here to read the feature and see if your favorite films of the year made our list. And see below for a list of the films that just missed making it onto our list, followed by our contributors’ individual ballots. Happy reading.