Now we’re officially at the end of the beginning of 2015, I figured now would be a good a time as any to share my favourite films of the last year. The Oscars still haven’t happened, so this is still relevant I promise. No, I haven’t procrastinated this piece since December. Shut up.
2014 was, unquestionably, a remarkable year for filmmaking with record-breaking box office turnouts and, more importantly, an absolute cavalcade of top-notch films. It was also an especially exciting year for me personally in the world of film, as Jack and I attended the London Film Festival in October and then followed it up with a number of screenings around London in the months preceding Awards Season.
Because we here at Watching Between the Lines are on the ball, we’ve put together our predicted Oscar nominations a whole few minutes ahead of the actual announcement ceremony. Some categories have their runaway winners such as Julianne Moore for Best Actress, but others, like both Screenplay categories, are still at least a three way tie. It’s been an excellent year for cinema, and almost anything mentioned here will absolutely be a worthy nominee or winner.
UPDATE: Not bad. We nailed Original Screenplay, but we were met with some bizarre choices this year. In addition to the LEGO Movie snubbed (bullshit), Bradley Cooper (American Sniper) got the Best Actor nomination instead of David Oyelowo (Selma), meaning that there are precisely twenty white faces of the twenty nominated actors and actresses. Grand Budapest Hotel and Birdman lead with nine nominations each, Imitation Game earns eight, and Boyhood and American Sniper trail with six apiece. A lot of disappointment with Selma and Nightcrawler’s lack of presence this year.
Birdman, the latest effort from distinctive director Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárittu, is a particularly bold film. Not only is it very technically impressive, but it deals with risky themes like the differentiation between pop culture and art and the inherent impotence of critics, which when handled poorly can make a film look self-conscious and above reproach. Luckily for both the movie and the audience, Birdman negotiates these incredibly complex and substantial themes deftly and with a sense of scope and proportion, touching on modern pop-culture, egomania, self-delusion, and the fundamental purpose of art; no small order for a film so immediately accessible. Beautifully written and performed, with a striking and unique soundtrack alongside genuinely breath-taking cinematography, Birdman is a strong contender for the best film of 2014.