The Oredigger’s Oscar Picks

Two of the Oredigger’s movie reviewers sat down and discussed who they thought should win in each of the Oscar’s categories. Read their picks below and let us know who you think should win!

Nominees for Best Picture:

American Sniper
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
The Grand Budapest
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything




Erica – Boyhood

There is a lot of close competition in the Best Picture category this year. However, “Boyhood” was a cinematic masterpiece. The simple fact that it was filmed over twelve years shows the dedication that the actors, the director, and everyone who was involved with it had to the movie. On top of that, it was a movie that resonated with a lot of people, which is a sign of a great film.




Sean – Birdman

Of the eight fantastic films nominated this year for best picture, “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” soars above the rest.  The movie boasts an unexpected but terrific cast, and presents an entirely unique viewing experience for all movie-goers.  Although classified as a black comedy, which it certainly is, the flick delves into many facets of the human condition that are rarely brought to light, increasing the mental appeal of the film.  Birdman will make you uneasy, laugh, wonder what the hell is going on, and is my pick for Best Picture of 2014.




Nominees for Acting in a Leading Role

Steve Carell (Foxcatcher)
Bradley Cooper (American Sniper)
Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game)
Michael Keaton (Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance))
Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)





Erica – Eddie Redmayne

Eddie Redmayne’s performance of Stephen Hawking was on point. To be able to portray someone with Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) is a difficult task in itself. I would say that Redmayne did a great job, it is probably hard to portray something that you have never personally experienced. Redmayne’s portrayal of Hawking was touching, and it definitely warrants an Oscar.








Sean – Michael Keaton

Birdman almost serves as a character study of not only Michael Keaton’s role of Riggan Thomson, but also of Keaton himself.  The ironic resemblance of his character’s and his own situation would have been a difficult task, but Keaton delivers impeccably.  The complex mind of this aging hollywood star is brought to life due to his powerful performance, and his portrayal of an exaggerated and fictionalized version of himself calls for an Academy Award.




Nominees for Actress in a Leading Role

Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night)
Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything)
Julianne Moore (Still Alice)
Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl)
Reese Witherspoon (Wild)




Erica – Julianne Moore

Julianne Moore’s portrayal of a linguistics professor who gets Alzheimer’s earlier than most was brilliant. On top of her performance, one of the director’s of the movie also got Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) just before production began. The fact that the project was still completed is amazing. Moore’s performance managed to elicit an emotional response from many people because people can relate to the movie.







Sean – Rosamund Pike

Rosamund Pike is my dark horse of the 2015 Oscar’s.  Her chilling depiction of ‘Amazing Amy’, a disgruntled wife in the suburbs in small town America is incredible.  The first and final scene contain just her character in the frame, and she did an amazing job completely polarizing the viewer’s feelings towards her character.  Pike’s performance is nightmare-worthy, and that could just win her an Oscar.





Nominees for Actor in a Supporting Role

Robert Duvall (The Judge)
Ethan Hawke (Boyhood)
Edward Norton (Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance))
Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher)
J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)




Erica – J.K. Simmons

J.K. Simmons played a ferocious jazz instructor in “Whiplash” and he has already picked up several awards for it. Simmons has been in a lot of movies over the years, and has gotten little recognition. To play such an angry person takes a lot of talent, especially since Simmons is considered to be a generally nice person. The force which J.K. Simmons demonstrates in this film is definitely Oscar worthy.






Sean – J.K. Simmons

The roller coaster ride that was J.K. Simmons’ performance as a manipulative, no nonsense jazz maestro at a prestigious music university was masterful.  Generally regarded as the sarcastic wise cracker in films such as “Juno” or the Spiderman trilogy, Simmons’ acting had me absolutely loathe him then somehow second guess my hatred at a moments notice.  His frightening on-screen presence in “Whiplash” steals the show, and may just snare him an Oscar.




Nominees for Actress in a Supporting Role

Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
Laura Dern (Wild)
Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game)
Emma Stone (Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance))
Meryl Streep (Into the Woods)




Erica – Patricia Arquette

What is really incredible about the movie “Boyhood” is the planning that went into the movie. The devotion for an actress to be a part of a movie for so long is something that should be awarded. On top of that, people could really identify with Patricia Arquette’s portrayal of a mother. It takes a talented actress to make people truly identify with you and your character.




Sean – Laura Dern

2014 was the year of the mom in the world of Laura Dern.  She portrayed the mother in “The Fault in Our Stars” as well as Reese Witherspoon’s late mother in “Wild.”  Her death serving as the catalyst for Witherspoon’s descent into self-detriment, Dern expertly portrays the optimistic and joyful maternal figure via flashbacks.  Perhaps the fact that she is a mother of two reflects her realistic silver screen demeanor of a charismatic mother so well.  Dern was also the biggest surprise in the category for me, having only remembered her from the original Jurassic Park as the scream happy protagonist.  She completely reverses her performance here, however, and could steal an Oscar away from Arquette.



Nominees for Animated Feature Film

Big Hero 6
The Boxtrolls
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Song of the Sea
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya




Erica – How to Train Your Dragon 2

“How to Train Your Dragon 2” is arguably the best sequel to an animated film that I have ever seen. Unlike a lot of animated movie sequels, it lived up to its full potential. The soundtrack is incredible, there is awesome character development, and it did not let down in any categories. Compared to the other nominees in its category, “How to Train Your Dragon 2” was the most well done, with the best animation and story line.






Sean – The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

Overshadowed by popular movies from Disney and Dreamworks, The Tale of Princess Kaguya is another underdog in this years Academy Awards.  I don’t necessarily believe that it will win, but I think it deserves to win.  The film (almost 2 ½ hours) is uniquely animated, with hand-drawn esque techniques to give the movie an immersive atmosphere.  The storytelling and emotional appeal the movie presents is moving and will stick with you long after the credits roll.



Nominees for Directing

Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Birdman)
Richard Linklater (Boyhood)
Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game)



Erica – Richard Linklater

The pure dedication to the project of “Boyhood” is reason enough for Richard Linklater to win the Directing category. Boyhood was filmed for a couple days every year for a period of twelve years. The foresight and planning to obtain such a good final product is definitely Oscar worthy. Linklater also had to direct his own daughter, Lorelei Linklater, in this movie, which had its own problems at points. However, the commitment to the final product and the ability to keep the cast together over such a long course of time, shows that Linklater is a truly great director.




Sean – Richard Linklater

The feat of filming a movie for over 12 years is incredible, and is a rarity in the movie industry.  Being able to keep the same cast together over that amount time shows that Linklater has a vision for the film that resonated with the entire cast, and kept them coming back year after year.  His commitment to filming for a week at a time every year, along with directing other movies in the meantime is a testament to the fact that he did an incredible directing job with “Boyhood.”


Nominees for Cinematography

Birdman (Emmanuel Lubezki)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Robert Yeoman)
Ida (Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski)
Mr. Turner (Dick Pope)
Unbroken (Roger Deakins)




Erica – Birdman

Given the number of nominations that it has, “Birdman” seems like it will win in at least one category. “Birdman” was shot in such a way that it would look like it was shot in one take. This involves moving the camera in such a way that the images never become disjointed and also a very good team of people editing the film. This unique cinematography is enough to rope in an Oscar for “Birdman.”







Sean – Birdman

Birdman is basically a shoe in for the category for cinematography.  Given the fact that “Birdman” is not nominated for film editing is a travesty in and of itself, but the cinematography shown in the movie is spectacular.  The illusion that the film is (almost) all one shot demonstrates the ability of the cinematographers with all of the extended shots that are included in the film.





Nominees for Music (Original Score)

The Grand Budapest Hotel (Alexandre Desplat)
The Imitation Game (Alexandre Desplat)
Interstellar (Hans Zimmer)
Mr. Turner (Gary Yershon)
The Theory of Everything (Jóhann Jóhannsson)




Erica – The Imitation Game

Alexandre Desplat is an amazing composer. If “The Imitation Game” does not win, my next choice would be “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” Given his past list of films that he has composed for, Desplat seems like the logical choice. His compositions bring life to the movies that they are a part of. Two nominations within the same category also puts Desplat into such company as John Williams.








Sean – The Grand Budapest Hotel

Alexandre Desplat is being nominated for his seventh and eighth academy award for best original score, and he has a pretty decent shot at winning his first this year.  He represents two of the five nominations for the category, and if he doesn’t receive the Oscar for “The Grand Budapest Hotel”, I think he will win for “The Imitation Game.”  Music plays an important role in Wes Anderson films, and in “The Grand Budapest Hotel” Desplat delivers with a score almost as quirky as the film itself.  The composition arranged by Desplat shows the range of his abilities, and I think he should be rewarded for his talent in this movie.

Erica Dettmer-Radtke is a senior at Mines. She is editor in chief of The Oredigger. Erica is a Statistics major and came to Mines from Boulder, CO. In her spare time, while not studying or working on the paper, she enjoys being outside, reading, photography, and cooking.

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