Oscar Project 2015: Best Picture Roundup

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The 2015 Academy Awards are upon us! With just under a week to spare, I’ve finally seen all eight Best Picture nominees. It was a good year, overall — there wasn’t really anything that blew me away as much as past years’ winners, like “The King’s Speech” and “The Artist,” but in general, I enjoyed most of the nominees. I didn’t quite stay on top of things in terms of posting as I saw each film, so instead, here’s my roundup of all eight of them. They’re not really in any particular order — the last two are my bottom two, and I put my bet for Best Picture (though not necessarily my pick, if that makes sense), but I waffle on my rankings of the rest.

Friendly reminder: I am not a professional movie critic? I’m just a person who likes movies and the Oscars. You’ll see various comments about things like acting and pacing and camera work, but for the most part, I’ve evaluated these movies on how much I enjoyed them. I’d love to hear your thoughts on them, too — please feel free to comment away!

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Gone Girl

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I don’t want to write a lot about Gone Girl, because the fun of Gone Girl is in the surprises, and I know that if I write a lot I’ll ruin something. But man, what a great movie.

I read the book the summer before last, and it was one of those books that you can’t put down until you’ve read it from start to finish, even though it’s over 400 pages long. I went into it fully aware that there were going to be surprises, and I was still constantly caught off guard. The movie, also written by the novel’s author, Gillian Flynn, was the same. I was constantly on my toes, even though I knew what was coming.

The performances were fantastic. Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike were perfect as Nick and Amy Dunne — they made the characters complex, multilayered, just as they are in the book. The other characters were wonderful, too; I especially enjoyed Carrie Coon’s performance as Nick’s twin, Margo. I do wish they had not cast Neil Patrick Harris as Amy’s former boyfriend, Desi — for me, there was something mildly reminiscent of his “How I Met Your Mother” character, Barney Stinson, in his performance, and it was extremely disconcerting. But overall, no complaints.

The movie had great pacing, great scoring, great shooting. Everything was done in a way that kept you guessing, kept you feeling uneasy. It gets scary, and it gets graphic in both violence and sexual content — think before bringing your kids, small siblings, grandparents, etc. — but it’s all worth it. I left the theater feeling pretty creeped out, upset, what have you, but still very happy that I had seen the movie.

Would I recommend Gone Girl to a friend? Absolutely, but with the warning that he/she might not sleep well after seeing it.

Oscar-worthy? I don’t know much about the competition yet, but I will be baffled if Gone Girl doesn’t get a Best Picture nomination. It was just so strong in every way. I’m sure there will be well-deserved nominations for Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, and I won’t be surprised if the movie shows up in the directing and screenplay categories, too.

Programming note: With this post, I’m officially kicking off my 2015 Oscar Project. The most wonderful time of the year! Expect a full game plan to come out soon.

Oscar Project 2014: Final Thoughts

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Because things got crazy for me around Oscar night — film festivals! birthdays! papers! cookies! — I never got around to posting my Oscar predictions. The closest I got was a last-minute Tweet about my top-category picks.

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