Wednesday, June 19Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

Getting closer to the Academy

Lo and behold Royal Holloway! Award season is upon us, and here are the predictions for one of the most awaited events of the year: The Oscars.

Indeed, the biggest cinematography event of the year is getting closer and closer and one is naturally led to wonder to whom the famous golden statue will go to. However, of course, it is too early to predict who might actually triumph on the night of the 22nd of February at the Dolby Theater. I’ll try my best to point your way to the nominees, however.

One film that most captured my attention was Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel”. The film is about the adventures and misadventures of the last concierge Monsieur Gustave H. (fantastically interpreted by Ralph Fiennes) of the luxurious Hotel before the war, seen from the perspective of lobby boy “Zero”, his faithful employee. It plays like a wonderful comedy, with a sort of pretty serious and bittersweet undertone. As it is known, Wes Anderson has a special feel; unique, funny, sensitive and intelligent, he is a way of showing us his imaginary world through the big screen. To cut a long story short, I would not be surprised in seeing this film as a serious contender for the Oscar run. It really deserves it!

On the other hand, I would be pretty shocked to see Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” having anything to do with the prestige award. The movie is basically about the earth coming to an end, so a team of explorers undertakes the most important mission in human history, traveling beyond the galaxy to discover whether mankind has a future among the stars. Sure, this short summary of the plot sounds intriguing; but in my opinion, it was a huge let down. It was supposed to be a promising outer-space mission with deep-thought topics, like some modern variation on the unique and majestic Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” or even the great “Gravity” from Alfonso Cuaròn, which we have seen last year. Instead, “Interstellar” is a forced, rushed movie, which wants to be serious but it ultimately ends up being pretentious and boring with a bevy of plot holes to match.

There is also the thrilling true crime drama “Foxcatcher” by Bennett Miller, which offers Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum an opportunity to shine. So does also Alejandro González Iñárritu’s new film “Birdman”, which has received considerably good reviews from critics, with outstanding performances from Michael Keaton and Edward Norton.
Not to be forgotten is the impressive Richard Linklater’s movie “Boyhood”, with it’s ground-breaking story of growing up as seen through the perspective of a child named Mason, played by Ellar Coltrane, will at least earn Linklater’s first nomination for an Oscar in the director category.
All things considered, as good as this year’s performances by actors/directors/writers ect. might be, they are not reaching quite as high standards as in this past year’s performances, like Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill in The Wolf of Wall Street or Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club, or even as Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine.
This year seems to be the year of the concept piece in cinema, coupled with a series of directors that aren’t quite (yet?) household names. It should nonetheless be a thrilling ceremony, and I cannot wait to see if I was right.