Worthy winners and deserving losers: A big night at the 2015 Oscars

THE 87th Academy Awards; better known as the Oscars, took place on 22nd February. Widely known as a night in the film community that both entertains its viewers and awards bold and interesting films, it is the culmination of a year’s film awards season. The night proved to have its controversial moments during the shows entertainment, however what is of greater significance is which films won awards. Whilst many may slam the awards for not awarding truly popular films that generate vast sums of money at the box office, it also gives recognition to the smaller films that do something unique, even if it is just with a nomination.

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) was by far the biggest winner of the night, winning four awards including the ‘big wins’ of Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original screenplay, along with Best Cinematography. All of these were well deserved. The the film is able to seem like almost one continuous shot and with the interesting themes of fame, obsessions and debates of what art is, Birdman is well and truly worthy of these accolades and unsurprisingly voted for by the academy, who it can be assumed related quite well to the film.

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Deserving wins for Grand Budapest.

The recipients for best Actor and Actress were also well deserved. Eddie Redmayne playing Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything and Julianne Moore as Dr. Alice Howard in Still Alice having given widely praised performances that were truly earned. However with these awards coming at the same time, one could argue that they are merely being awarded for portraying a severe illness on screen, something that the Academy has been accused of doing for in the past. That is not to belittle the actors in the slightest. Moore has a fantastic history of performances on screen, and Redmayne is a promising new face, and in their own ways deserved the awards regardless of their performances.

Another big winner in number of awards is The Grand Budapest Hotel, winning an equal number of awards to Birdman, however for far more technical awards; Best Score, Best Production Design, Best Costume and Best Makeup & Hair Styling. In many ways this feels like a mug off, as The Grand Budapest Hotel was a brilliantly entertaining film hitting a broad variety of emotional beats with characters you cannot help but get attached to. It is a pity it did not win any of the higher profile awards.

One final big winner for the night, winning three awards was Whiplash, with Best Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Supporting Actor for J.K. Simmons. Simmons’ performance was absolutely brilliant for this film and was a favorite by far to win, and the both the editing and sound mixing made the film extremely exhilarating to watch considering its topic about Jazz bands.

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Patricia Arquette’s controversial speech on her thought on gender equality.

However with all these winners there are of course, those films who lost out. Favorites for awards included Boyhood, which won Best Supporting Actress for Patricia Arquette, and American Sniper only won Best Sound Editing, much to the disdain of the American far right. Boyhood in particular feels like a bad disregard considering it was a 12 year project and a significant cinematic feat. That being said, Nightcrawler and The Lego Movie did not get any nominations or awards at all (save a Best Song nomination for The Lego Movie) despite both being fantastic films worthy of recognition – by far the biggest ‘snubs’ of the night. Also unsurprisingly Big Hero 6 beat out How to Train your Dragon 2, despite it being the lesser of the two films in another case of Disney beating DreamWorks. One final noticeable ‘snub’ is the lack of awards is Selma, which is the only nominated film with a cast consisting of people of colour in the most whitewashed awards in this century. Though Selma won the award for Best Song for ‘Glory’, this was only one of two nominations, and it was woefully under nominated.

Also worth mentioning are the opportunities used by award winners to raise the profiles of social issues, notably by Graham Moore and Patricia Arquette. Whilst the content of their speeches can be controversial in some aspects, personally, I cannot help but admire them for using the recognition of the award in raising awareness for an issue important to them.

Whilst it is hard to acknowledge everyone at an awards show, it most certainly feels like the Oscars have lost their edge. The awards given this year whilst were given to worthy contenders, plenty of films have missed out on receiving recognition. However it is important to consider that neither performance at awards ceremonies, nor at the box office, is the be all and end all for a what you consider a good film, as personal opinion ultimately matters more.