Movies & TV

87th Academy Awards

academy awardLast night, the movie award season came to a satisfying conclusion at the 87th Academy Awards, the biggest night of the year for Hollywood. Like always, the live telecast brought the glitz and the glam, the laughs and the tears. First time Oscars host Neil Patrick Harris kicked off the night with an appropriately musical tribute to movie magic. Joined by Anna Kendrick and Jack Black, Harris’ song reminded audiences at home and in the Dolby Theatre why movies are so captivating. It was a charming beginning to a fun night of one-liners, bits, and one show-long magic trick.

Emotions were high throughout the ceremony as winners took to the stage with speeches that ran the gamut of funny (when one of the screenwriters for Birdman thanked his dog Larry), heartfelt (when The Imitation Game screenwriter, Graham Moore, told kids to “stay weird”) and impassioned (the many speeches that mentioned social and political activism). My personal favorite speech of the night was given by supporting actor winner J.K. Simmons, when, after saying his thanks, he closed his speech by strongly advising everyone listening to call their parents, if possible.

2015 Oscar Nominations: Best Actress & Best Supporting Actress

It’s finally here!  Of all the awards given out every year for movies, this is the big one.  The one we place bets on.  The one where we compete against friends and family to see if our choices match those of the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Oscar Snubs in Movie History

north by northwest minimalist posterThe goal of the Academy Awards is to honor the best of the best in film and, the majority of the time, they do just that. But sometimes they might get it a little bit wrong. In retrospect, maybe the best picture winner wasn’t quite as outstanding as it seemed. Maybe one of the other nominated films has proven itself an enduring classic, a movie worth re-watching time and again. And sometimes, the best film of the year, the one that reaches classic movie status, wasn’t even nominated.

As happens every year, this year’s Oscar nominees have been met with mixed feelings. There can only be so many nominees in the best picture category and, each year, there are wonderful movies that are left off of the final ballot. This year’s favorite movies not up for a best picture nomination include, among others, a bestselling book made into a film (Gone Girl), a beloved stage musical made into a film (Into the Woods), an inspiring biographical account (Unbroken), and a science fiction epic (Interstellar). But perhaps one of the biggest mysteries of this year’s Oscars is, of course, the absence of The LEGO Movie from the best animated feature nominees. Maybe everything isn’t as awesome as it should be at the Oscars?

If you are suffering from awards season burnout, check out one of these classic films instead! They may not have received a best picture nomination, but they are more than worthy of a second (or third, or fourth…) look!

2015 Oscar Nominations: Best Actor & Best Supporting Actor

academy awardIn just a few short weeks, the winners of this year’s Academy Awards will be announced in a live telecast. Of the ten actor nominees this year, half have previously received Academy Award nominations, but only one, Robert Duvall has won an Oscar. Also of note, half of the actors are nominated for their portrayal of real people, proving, yet again, that the Academy loves a biopic.

Some years the acting awards seem like a lock, with one person sweeping their category. This year J.K. Simmons seems like a sure bet for the supporting actor win, but there voting seems divided in the best actor category. It will be interesting to see who will take home the award at the end of the month. I have yet to see all of the nominated films, but I already have my favorites. Who would you like to see take home the Oscar this year?

Most of the nominated films are still in theaters so not yet available in HCPL’s catalog, but make sure to check out previous works by the actors!

Best Actor:

Animated Films at the Oscars

snow white academy awardHistorically, animated feature films never quite received the recognition they deserved at the Academy Awards. Occasionally, animated films that broke technological barriers, like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in the 1930s, and Toy Story in the 1990s, were given special awards in recognition of their achievements. But it wasn’t until Disney’s Beauty and the Beast in 1992, that an animated feature film was nominated for best picture.  Since then, only two other animated feature films, Up and Toy Story 3, have been nominated for best picture, both after the category was expanded to a possible ten nominees. It seemed that, no matter how beloved the movie and how outstanding the reviews, animated films simply did not receive the same level of critical acclaim during awards season as live-action films.

In 2001, however, all of that changed. Aided, in part, by the increasingly diverse selection of animated films released in theaters each year and the overwhelming popularity of some of these films, the Academy added the Best Animated Feature category. The very first Oscar in this category was awarded to the DreamWorks Pictures film Shrek in 2002 at the 64th Academy Awards. Since then, a diverse group of animated films have been recognized for their contribution to film.

Most of the current Oscar nominees in this category are not yet available on DVD, but I have included all of the previous winners at the end of this post. Remember: you’re never too old to love an animated film!

A Comparative Look at the 2015 Movie Awards Season

academy awardLast Thursday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the nominations for the 87th Academy Awards. Honoring achievements in film, the Oscars are highly anticipated by Hollywood and movie goers alike. This announcement was the last for the movie awards season, coming after nomination announcements for the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA Awards), the Critics Choice Awards, and the various guild awards (Screen Actors Guild, Producers Guild, and Directors Guild).

Every year, I find it interesting to compare the lists of nominees in the major categories at these awards shows. Sometimes the nominations are strikingly similar (as with this year’s nominees for lead actress and supporting actor), and sometimes they are completely different (as with this year’s nominees for best film and best director). Below, I have listed all the nominees for film, director and the four major acting awards, along with the awards for which they were nominated. 

Never Too Late

In only a month, it will be Valentine’s Day, a time when our thoughts turn to love.  While most movies and TV series concentrate on young people finding that special someone, there have been the occasional looks at folks a little bit older.  Sometimes the characters are widowed or divorced.  Sometimes they are past lovers who are reunited.  And sometimes they are lonely people who have finally fou

2014: A Movie Retrospective

box office signThe New Year is a time not only for looking ahead and setting goals for the upcoming year, but for reflecting on the year left behind. Since January at the movie theater generally tends to be much quieter, I usually spend part of it evaluating my movie experiences from the year before.

Last year at the movies was fairly typical. It was full of the movies we have all come to expect: superhero movies, movies based on popular books, animated offerings, comedies, action thrillers, and Oscar favorites. Big budget action movies ruled the box office, but there were plenty of quieter, more contemplative films for those who weren’t attracted to the spectacle.

Below I have listed the top ten movies at the domestic box office in 2014, as well as my own list of favorite movies. There is some crossover, because I admit to loving the blockbusters as well as the independent films. Did your favorite movie of 2014 make either list? If these kinds of movies just aren’t your cup of tea, stay tuned for our awards season coverage, starting in the next couple of weeks!

In Memoriam 2014

During this past year, we lost so many talented people in entertainment.  Several I’ve already covered.  But there were others worthy of mention.

While I have an extensive list below, there are certain people I’d like to draw special attention to.
 

Serial: With Season One Over, What’s Next?

for serial listenersI, along with many other Serial podcast listeners, downloaded the final episode of Season One this morning with excitement…and a feeling of loss.  This story has captivated me and I’m still not sure I’m ready to let go, even after listening to the final episode (Okay, I listened to it twice.

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