Film Oscar nominations 2015

2015 Oscar nominations: Mr Turner and Selma's snubs are shocking

Just as the Skibbereen Eagle grandly warned Kaiser Wilhelm in 1914 that it had its eye on him, so film reviewers feel moved to bellow their disapproval at the Academy. Only today for Timothy Spall as best actor? Has David Oyelowo, who so memorably portrayed Martin Luther King in Selma, been ignored in this category as well? Selma at least has a best picture nomination, but no best director nomination for Ava DuVernay.

Related: Paul Thomas Anderson: ‘Inherent Vice is like a sweet, dripping aching for the past’

And very little for Paul Thomas Anderson’s outstanding Inherent Vice: and nothing in way of best picture or best director. Richard Linklater’s marvellous Boyhood has six nominations, but that is fewer than the decent but middling film The Imitation Game, about wartime codebreaker Alan Turing — and only as many as Clint Eastwood’s fantastically dull and mediocre American Sniper, which has been hugely overrated. Bradley Cooper (usually a smart and talented actor) was, frankly, not particularly well cast or well directed in this ho-hum picture and the idea of him getting a best actor nomination ahead of Oyelowo or Spall or Ralph Fiennes is pretty silly.

In the documentary list, too, I feel my hackles rising at the omission of Steve James’s Life Itself, his portrait of the late Roger Ebert. No animation nomination for The Lego Movie. No best original score nomination for Mica Levi, for Under The Skin. But the time has come to call an end to these complaints for the time being, and spotting gaps is arguably an over-familiar type of jiu-jitsu that film journalists like to pull on award-nomination lists.

Basically, it is good news that Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel have performed so strongly: excellent films in that “indie-literate” middle ground that many in the industry have been worrying had been neglected in the general rush to big-budget, big-box-office superhero pictures. And this really is a kind of underdog good-news story for Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel, which might so easily have completely vanished over awards season, without anybody particularly noticing. It might, for example, have suffered the fate of Paul Thomas Anderson’s superlative Inherent Vice.

There are some heartening points in the acting categories. Laura Dern’s intelligent and sensitive performance in Wild, as the mother of Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon), has deservedly got her a best supporting actress nomination. And Marion Cotillard has made it to the best actress list for the Dardennes’ heartwrenching workplace drama Two Days, One Night. For my money, Cotillard is clearly ahead of the others in this list, good though they are all are: Julianne Moore, Rosamund Pike, Felicity Jones and Reese Witherspoon. But I think Hilary Swank might be entitled to be disappointed that she didn’t make it for her performance in The Homesman and if the Academy was in the market for non-US actors, well … how about Berenice Béjo for The Past?

The Big Mo, or Momentum, continues to build behind Whiplash, by the brilliant young director Damien Chazelle, and surely no-one will be able to find a bookmaker ready to take a bet on JK Simmons for best supporting actor. Whiplash is a film which had generated enormous audience enthusiasm and priceless word-of-mouth: its easily summarised, unusual-but-not-too-unusual premise is a great hook: the sadistic teacher torments the highly-strung jazz-drummer. I have said before that I think it is a very good movie which perhaps does not support some of the more goggle-eyed critical responses: but it’s exciting and smart, and I am cheering Chazelle and Simmons on.

It is traditional to complain that comedy is overlooked in awards ceremonies — and I have done my own share of whingeing on this account — so it’s great to see properly funny films rewarded in this way. Birdman, arguably, has a solemn dimension to it, but not really The Grand Budapest Hotel, despite being inspired by a writer (Stefan Zweig) who famously committed suicide in despair at the rise of the Nazis.

Related: Whiteout in the limelight? #OscarsSoWhite mocks Academy snub of actors of colour

Rather as I feared, the film that I personally felt strongest about — Richard Linklater’s masterly Boyhood — might actually be fading in this Oscar race, and that’s despite an extremely strong showing in the Golden Globes. You never know: best picture, best director, best screenplay and other acting awards could well go to Boyhood. Oscar night could be an even spread between it, Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Whiplash. But I would still love to see best adapted screenplay go to Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice.

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2015 Oscar Nominations Break Down And Analysis – AMC
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Oscar Nominations 2015
Oscar Nominations 2015
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