Another year, another set of Academy Award nominations, and while it’s great that well-deserved films such as Boyhood and The Grand Budapest Hotel are getting recognition, as usual we seem to spend more time talking about what isn’t on the list than what is. Here is the rundown of the most eyebrow-raising omissions this year.
Breaking box-office records, receiving six Oscar nominations, and stimulating a mass of controversy with it’s ersatz babies and alleged patriotism, Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper has hogged the limelight for weeks now.
A plethora of Hollywood talent is in abundance in Villeneuve’s latest production and yet it’s only Academy Award nomination was for lesser category ‘Cinematography’. This is a definite snub for a crime mystery executed in masterful proportions.
Predominantly the purpose of a documentary is to influence or persuade and having seen “The Act of Killing”, I now feel privileged through circumstance not to have been born into the corrupt mess that is Indonesia. This exquisite and intelligent portrayal of “robbers with ties” institution: the ‘Pancasila Youth’ army was the only true shock at this year’s Oscars, implausibly beaten by “20 Feet from Stardom”.
British realist director Mike Leigh’s 2004 drama ‘Vera Drake’ focuses on the story of its title character (Imelda Staunton), a working class woman performing backstreet abortions in postwar London. Following the pseudo-documentary works of British New Wave filmmakers Ken Loach or Lindsay Anderson, Leigh delivers a social drama offering an insight on the medical, financial and domestic circumstances of working class families in 1950s England, using objective camerawork and a screenplay based on unscripted actor improvisation in order to create a film that is able to present a fragment of reality.
Winning the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, ‘20 Feet From Stardom‘ explores the first-hand accounts and experiences of several backing singers who have worked with the biggest names of the music industry – Mick Jagger, Bruce Springsteen and David Bowie to name a few. Meanwhile, revealing details from recording sessions with prominent musicians and producers to the lifestyle that revolves around being a ‘background singer’ exposing the treatment and attitude towards background singers. This engaging feature offers a perspective into the lives of the people you hear on the biggest songs of the music industry but don’t recognise.