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Oscars 2015

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Friday, February 27, 2015

VIDEO: Chatting about the Oscars on Las Vegas’ ‘Valley View Live!’


On Monday, TGK Editor James A. Molnar chatted about the Oscars via Skype with Megan Telles, co-host of KTNV's "Valley View Live!" in Las Vegas.

The two chatted about host Neil Patrick Harris, the ceremony and acceptance speeches.

Watch the conversation below:


The 87th Academy Awards, for outstanding film achievements of 2014, were presented on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, and televised live on ABC and in more than 225 countries worldwide.

Oscars 2015: Photos from the Dolby stage

Take a look at these photos from the Oscars stage Feb. 22.

Academy photographers Todd Wawrychuk and Jordan Murph took some fantastic photos from a unique angle Sunday night — from the stage.

You can see Reese Witherspoon presenting in front of 3,000+ attendees, during the live Oscars telecast from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.


In a zoomed in photo, you can see who's sitting where, along with a few empty seats, as Kevin Hart and Anna Kendrick present.


Light illuminates the beautiful stage, designed by Derek McLane.


Nicole Kidman and Chiwetel Ejiofor present the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar to director Paweł Pawlikowskithe for “Ida” (Poland).


The lights silhouette Jennifer Hudson as she performs.


Eddie Murphy presents the Best Original Screenplay Oscar to Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. and Armando Bo for "Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance."


The 87th Academy Awards, for outstanding film achievements of 2014, were presented on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, and televised live on ABC and in more than 225 countries worldwide.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Oscars 2015: Thoughts on the season


By James A. Molnar
TGK Editor

Let normal sleep schedules commence.

For the past few weeks, it’s been a whirlwind. From awards show in propinquity to press releases ad nauseum, journalists (and even the public) are collectively breathing a sigh of relief as this awards season has come to a close.

Sure there will be a few events, film festivals and announcements here and there, but thankfully they will have some space to breathe.

How has awards season gotten so long, and so exhausting?

Feb. 22’s Oscars capped off a special season this year, filled with more dissent and vitriol than normal. (Or maybe I’m just watching social media more.)

This year seemed normal going into nominations on Jan. 15. There was a fantastic feeling around some of the nominated films, including “Boyhood” and “Birdman.”

Then #OscarsSoWhite happened.

People were up in arms over what they believed to be snubs for “Selma” in multiple categories, the result of a non-diverse motion picture academy. The hashtag on Twitter was created with this feeling in mind.


Oscars host Neil Patrick Harris awkwardly joked about this in his monologue.

“Tonight we honor Hollywood’s best and whitest — sorry, brightest,” he said.

While “12 Years a Slave” won for Best Picture just last year, it appeared that any progress made toward diverse inclusion had been reversed.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences voted for outstanding achievements of 2014. Members may not have meant to specifically exclude “Selma,” but surely not enough members voted to include it.

Was this specifically about the Oscars, or a larger question about the state of Hollywood and the studios that make the big films? What exactly is the problem and how can it be fixed?


Everyone brings his or her own perspective and opinion to the Oscars. After all, choosing “the best” is subjective. Look at previous winners of Academy Awards. Wouldn’t a film winning many awards for technical achievements or acting be a shoo-in for Best Picture?

Last year, “Gravity” took home seven Oscars in Best Director and the technical categories, yet lost Best Picture to “12 Years a Slave,” which ended the night with three Oscars.

These awards are chosen by a specific group of people. They happen to skew more white and more male.

But the public holds the Academy to a higher standard because its awards are supposed to represent all facets of the film industry and honor the best achievements of the previous year. It’s the gold standard, a seal of approval. But again, that can be really subjective.


The ceremony itself lost 16 percent of its record-breaking audience from last year, which was the best in a decade.

The biggest film nominated for Best Picture at the box office this year was “American Sniper.” The movie-going public, which votes with its wallet, chose “Sniper.”

Yet it didn’t win.

Maybe the exclusion of big ticket films from the top category kept audiences away. Or maybe the Olympics helped the Oscars last year, by giving awards season a monthlong break.

Demanding change from the Academy, along with Hollywood, is healthy and important.

As another season has come and gone, my favorite film was still “Boyhood.” That doesn’t change.

There were a few achievements honored on Oscar Sunday I was thrilled about.


One of my favorite composers was finally honored, Alexandre Desplat. His eighth nomination for “The Grand Budapest Hotel” was the winner.

My favorite animated film of the year was honored, “Big Hero 6.”

And two great actresses were handed Oscar gold, Julianne Moore for “Still Alice” and Patricia Arquette for “Boyhood.”

Hopefully this awards season taught us something. It has certainly left us with many questions.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Oscars 2015: 87th Academy Awards winners


HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — It may have been pouring outside, but inside the Dolby Theatre here at Hollywood & Highland Center there was a certain golden glow.

"Birdman" and "The Grand Budapest Hotel" tied for the most wins of the night, with four. The former, about a washed up actor trying to restart his career, took the prize for Best Picture.

Every nominee in that top category left with an Oscar. "Whiplash" received three Oscar wins. The other five nominees for Best Picture — "American Sniper," "Boyhood," "The Imitation Game," "Selma" and "The Theory of Everything" — each received one.

The ceremony clocked in at 3 hours and 38 minutes, with Neil Patrick Harris hosting.

Final Tally:
"Birdman": 4 out of 9
"The Grand Budapest Hotel": 4 out of 9
"Whiplash": 3 out of 5
"American Sniper": 1 out of 6
"Boyhood": 1 out of 6
"The Imitation Game": 1 out of 8
"Interstellar": 1 out of 5
"The Theory of Everything": 1 out of 5
"Foxcatcher": 0 out of 4
"Mr. Turner": 0 out of 4

And the Oscar goes to…
(in the order announced)

Best Actor in a Supporting Role 
Robert Duvall, "The Judge"
Ethan Hawke, "Boyhood"
Edward Norton, "Birdman"
Mark Ruffalo, "Foxcatcher"
J.K. Simmons, "Whiplash"  *WINNER*

Best Costume Design
"The Grand Budapest Hotel"  *WINNER*
"Inherent Vice"
"Into the Woods"
"Maleficent"
"Mr. Turner"

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
"Foxcatcher"
"The Grand Budapest Hotel"  *WINNER*
"Guardians of the Galaxy"

Best Foreign Language Film
"Ida" (Poland)  *WINNER*
"Leviathan" (Russia)
"Tangerines" (Estonia)
"Timbuktu" (Mauritania)
"Wild Tales" (Argentina)

Best Short Film — Live Action
"Aya"
"Boogaloo and Graham"
"Butter Lamp"
"Parvaneh"
"The Phone Call"  *WINNER*

Best Documentary — Short Subject
"Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1"  *WINNER*
"Joanna"
"Our Curse"
"The Reaper (La Parka)"
"White Earth"

Best Sound Mixing
"American Sniper"
"Birdman"
"Interstellar"
"Unbroken"
"Whiplash"  *WINNER*

Best Sound Editing
"American Sniper"  *WINNER*
"Birdman"
"The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies"
"Interstellar"
"Unbroken"

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Patricia Arquette, "Boyhood"  *WINNER*
Laura Dern, "Wild"
Keira Knightley, "The Imitation Game"
Emma Stone, "Birdman"
Meryl Streep, "Into the Woods"

Best Visual Effects
"Captain America: The Winter Soldier"
"Dawn of the Planet of the Apes"
"Guardians of the Galaxy"
"Interstellar"  *WINNER*
"X-Men: Days of Future Past"

Best Short Film — Animated
"The Bigger Picture"
"The Dam Keeper"
"Feast"  *WINNER*
"Me and My Moulton"
"A Single Life"

Best Animated Feature Film
"Big Hero 6"  *WINNER*
"The Boxtrolls"
"How to Train Your Dragon 2"
"Song of the Sea"
"The Tale of The Princess Kaguya"

Best Production Design
"The Grand Budapest Hotel"  *WINNER*
"The Imitation Game"
"Interstellar"
"Into the Woods"
"Mr. Turner"

Best Cinematography
"Birdman," Emmanuel Lubezki  *WINNER*
"The Grand Budapest Hotel," Robert Yeoman
"Ida," Lukasz Zal & Ryszard Lenczewski
"Mr. Turner," Dick Pope
"Unbroken," Roger Deakins

Best Film Editing
"American Sniper"
"Boyhood"
"The Grand Budapest Hotel"
"The Imitation Game"
"Whiplash"  *WINNER*

Best Documentary — Feature
"CITIZENFOUR"  *WINNER*
"Finding Vivian Maier"
"Last Days in Vietnam"
"The Salt of the Earth"
"Virunga"

Best Music — Original Song
"Lost Stars" from "Begin Again"
"Everything is Awesome" from "The LEGO Movie"
"Glory" from "Selma"  *WINNER*
"Grateful" from "Beyond the Lights"
"I'm Not Gonna Miss You" from "Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me"

Best Music — Original Score
"The Grand Budapest Hotel," Alexandre Desplat  *WINNER*
"The Imitation Game," Alexandre Desplat
"Interstellar," Hans Zimmer
"Mr. Turner," Gary Yershon
"The Theory of Everything," Jóhann Jóhannsson


Best Writing — Original Screenplay
"Birdman"  *WINNER*
"Boyhood"
"Foxcatcher"
"The Grand Budapest Hotel"
"Nightcrawler"

Best Writing — Adapted Screenplay
"American Sniper"
"The Imitation Game"  *WINNER*
"Inherent Vice"
"The Theory of Everything"
"Whiplash"

Best Director
Wes Anderson, "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
Alejandro González Iñárritu, "Birdman"  *WINNER*
Richard Linklater, "Boyhood"
Bennett Miller, "Foxcatcher"
Morten Tyldum, "The Imitation Game"

Best Actor in a Leading Role
Steve Carell, "Foxcatcher"
Bradley Cooper, "American Sniper"
Benedict Cumberbatch, "The Imitation Game"
Michael Keaton, "Birdman"
Eddie Redmayne, "The Theory of Everything"  *WINNER*

Best Actress in a Leading Role
Marion Cotillard, "Two Days, One Night"
Felicity Jones, "The Theory of Everything"
Julianne Moore, "Still Alice"  *WINNER*
Rosamund Pike, "Gone Girl"
Reese Witherspoon, "Wild"

Best Picture
"American Sniper"
"Birdman"  *WINNER*
"Boyhood"
"The Grand Budapest Hotel"
"The Imitation Game"
"Selma"
"The Theory of Everything"
"Whiplash"


The 87th Academy Awards, for outstanding film achievements of 2014, were presented on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, and televised live on ABC and in more than 225 countries worldwide.

Final predictions: 87th Academy Awards - Oscars 2015 (updated)


By James A. Molnar
TGK Editor

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — When the golden envelopes are opened tonight at the Dolby Theatre, there could be more than one surprise awaiting the audience at the 87th Academy Awards.

Here are my final predictions (and the possible spoilers):

Final Tally:
"The Grand Budapest Hotel": 5 out of 9 - 4 out of 9
"Boyhood": 4 out of 6 - 1 out of 6
"Whiplash": 2 out of 5 - 3 out of 5
"American Sniper": 1 out of 6   √ Correct
"Birdman": 1 out of 9 - 4 out of 9
"The Imitation Game": 1 out of 8   √ Correct
"Interstellar": 1 out of 5   √ Correct
"The Theory of Everything": 1 out of 5   √ Correct
"Foxcatcher": 0 out of 4   √ Correct
"Mr. Turner": 0 out of 4   √ Correct

And the nominees are…

----- FINAL: 19 out of 24 -----

Best Picture
"American Sniper"
"Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)" spoiler
"Boyhood"
"The Grand Budapest Hotel"
"The Imitation Game"
"Selma"
"The Theory of Everything"
"Whiplash"

Best Director X Incorrect
Wes Anderson, "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
Alejandro González Iñárritu, "Birdman" spoiler
Richard Linklater, "Boyhood"
Bennett Miller, "Foxcatcher"
Morten Tyldum, "The Imitation Game"

Best Writing — Adapted Screenplay √ Correct
"American Sniper"
"The Imitation Game"
"Inherent Vice"
"The Theory of Everything"
"Whiplash" spoiler

Best Writing — Original Screenplay X Incorrect
"Birdman" spoiler
"Boyhood"
"Foxcatcher"
"The Grand Budapest Hotel"
"Nightcrawler"

Best Actor in a Leading Role
Steve Carell, "Foxcatcher"
Bradley Cooper, "American Sniper"
Benedict Cumberbatch, "The Imitation Game"
Michael Keaton, "Birdman" spoiler
Eddie Redmayne, "The Theory of Everything"

Best 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"

Best Actor in a Supporting Role √ Correct
Robert Duvall, "The Judge"
Ethan Hawke, "Boyhood"
Edward Norton, "Birdman"
Mark Ruffalo, "Foxcatcher"
J.K. Simmons, "Whiplash"

Best Actress in a Supporting Role √ Correct
Patricia Arquette, "Boyhood"
Laura Dern, "Wild"
Keira Knightley, "The Imitation Game"
Emma Stone, "Birdman" spoiler (small)
Meryl Streep, "Into the Woods"

Best Animated Feature Film X Incorrect
"Big Hero 6" spoiler
"The Boxtrolls"
"How to Train Your Dragon 2"
"Song of the Sea"
"The Tale of The Princess Kaguya"

Best Cinematography √ Correct
"Birdman," Emmanuel Lubezki
"The Grand Budapest Hotel," Robert Yeoman
"Ida," Lukasz Zal & Ryszard Lenczewski
"Mr. Turner," Dick Pope
"Unbroken," Roger Deakins

Best Costume Design √ Correct
"The Grand Budapest Hotel"
"Inherent Vice"
"Into the Woods"
"Maleficent"
"Mr. Turner"

Best Documentary — Feature √ Correct
"CITIZENFOUR"
"Finding Vivian Maier"
"Last Days in Vietnam"
"The Salt of the Earth"
"Virunga" spoiler

Best Documentary — Short Subject √ Correct
"Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1"
"Joanna" spoiler
"Our Curse"
"The Reaper (La Parka)"
"White Earth"

Best Film Editing X Incorrect
"American Sniper"
"Boyhood"
"The Grand Budapest Hotel"
"The Imitation Game"
"Whiplash" spoiler

Best Foreign Language Film √ Correct 
"Ida" (Poland)
"Leviathan" (Russia)
"Tangerines" (Estonia)
"Timbuktu" (Mauritania)
"Wild Tales" (Argentina) spoiler

Best Makeup and Hairstyling √ Correct
"Foxcatcher"
"The Grand Budapest Hotel"
"Guardians of the Galaxy" spoiler

Best Music — Original Score √ Correct
"The Grand Budapest Hotel," Alexandre Desplat
"The Imitation Game," Alexandre Desplat
"Interstellar," Hans Zimmer
"Mr. Turner," Gary Yershon
"The Theory of Everything," Jóhann Jóhannsson spoiler

Best Music — Original Song √ Correct
"Lost Stars" from "Begin Again"
"Everything is Awesome" from "The LEGO Movie"
"Glory" from "Selma"
"Grateful" from "Beyond the Lights"
"I'm Not Gonna Miss You" from "Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me" spoiler

Best Production Design √ Correct
"The Grand Budapest Hotel"
"The Imitation Game"
"Interstellar"
"Into the Woods"
"Mr. Turner"

Best Short Film — Animated  √ Correct
"The Bigger Picture"
"The Dam Keeper" spoiler
"Feast"
"Me and My Moulton"
"A Single Life"

Best Short Film — Live Action √ Correct
"Aya"
"Boogaloo and Graham" spoiler
"Butter Lamp"
"Parvaneh"
"The Phone Call"

Best Sound Editing √ Correct
"American Sniper"
"Birdman" spoiler
"The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies"
"Interstellar"
"Unbroken"

Best Sound Mixing √ Correct
"American Sniper"
"Birdman" spoiler
"Interstellar"
"Unbroken"
"Whiplash"

Best Visual Effects  √ Correct
"Captain America: The Winter Soldier"
"Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" spoiler
"Guardians of the Galaxy"
"Interstellar"
"X-Men: Days of Future Past"


The 87th Academy Awards, for outstanding film achievements of 2014, will be presented on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, and will be televised live on ABC and in more than 225 countries worldwide.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Review: All 15 Oscar-nominated shorts


By James A. Molnar
TGK Editor

Each year, the Academy shines the spotlight on 15 short films, nominating them for Oscars. What is most impressive is how different each one is. Some of are truly short. Other top out near 40 minutes, the limited for eligibility, according to Academy rules. One animated short this year is only two minutes. Some will make you cry, including the two shorts dealing with suicide.

With that, here are 15 appropriately short reviews for the Oscar-nominated short films of 2014.


Best Documentary — Short Subject

“Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1”
The facts shared in this movie alone are jaw-dropping. What the people do in this crisis center is just short of miraculous. They help those who have been abandoned, those who served a country that doesn’t serve them. It is highly gripping and definitely worth watching. This one seems like it would be the favorite going into Oscar Sunday.
/ 5

Watch the shorts yourself.
Find more information here.
“Joanna”
The title character is a mother who is dying. She loves spending time with her son. And he loves spending time with her. The message of this short film is powerful: Everyone dies. Love will stay with you. Love is what matters. It’s a little dull though, to be honest, and it’s 40-minute runtime drags at times.
/ 5

“Our Curse”
The most profound of the Oscar-nominated documentary shorts is a poignant story of a couple whose newborn suffers from breathing problems. Ondine’s Curse is a disease that affects people while breathing at night, requiring a ventilator while sleeping. As the family struggles, it’s quite extraordinary how this “little mouse” — as the mom calls him — uplifts and endures.
/ 5

“The Reaper (La Parka)”
Efrain is known at work as “La Parka” (The Reaper). He has worked at a slaughterhouse for 25 years. Each day he kills 500 bulls. He works six days a week. But the short story is more than just him killing. It’s about him struggling with that death and how to live himself. This short is highly stylized and quiet. It’s the perfect snapshot of a man’s life, even if it drags a little.
/ 5

“White Earth”
The seeming odd ball of the group of nominees, this doc is the shortest among the nominees and also has the least to say. It feels more like a two-minute news video one could find on CNN or NYTimes.com — but stretched to 20 minutes. It follows the burgeoning population of White Earth, North Dakota, due to an abundance of oil. Some see the promise of the American Dream, but the reality is a little different.
/ 5


Best Short Film — Animated

“The Bigger Picture”
A story about two brothers with an elderly mother, told through mixed media and chalk. While the animation is remarkable, the short is somewhat forgettable.
 / 5

“The Dam Keeper”
This one may just win the Oscar if “Feast” doesn’t win it. Created by former Pixar art directors, “The Dam Keeper” features a story about an isolated pig that is bullied. While he has an important task involving the town’s windmill, he feels increasing unimportant and different. It’s not until a free-spirited artistic fox comes along that changes the pig’s hopes and perspective. There may be no dialogue but the message is universal: Everyone matters, even the pig at the top of the town. The short features soft animation with brush strokes similar to what you’d find in an “art of” book for an animated feature. This short gets your attention and keeps it.
 / 5

“Feast”
Seeing this Disney short for a second time (it was presented in front of “Big Hero 6” in November) brings more meaning and depth. Everyone in the theatre erupted in applause at its conclusion. It’s easy to love a film about a dog. Disney puts its winning anthropomorphic formula to great use. The animation as well plays well between areas of focus and light. Well done!
 / 5

“Me and My Moulton”
A quirky short with simplistic yet highly stylized animation about a young girl with two sisters just trying to be normal and fit in.
 / 5

“A Single Life”
This short really is short. At two minutes, the quirky timehopping story doesn’t waste a second. Any vinyl record lover will enjoy this immensely.
 / 5


Best Short Film — Live Action

“Aya”
The title character of this 39-minute short (nearly maxed out at the 40 minutes allowed) is mysterious yet familiar. She is that part of all of us that wants to do something not culturally acceptable. She doesn’t break the law, but she doesn’t follow the rules. It’s refreshing and the road traveled is one of intrigue and mystery.
 / 5

“Boogaloo and Graham”
Two boys each get a chicken as a pet. It’s cute, quirky and fun. This could be a spoiler at the Oscars.
 / 5

“Butter Lamp (La Lampe au Beurre de Yak)”
This story may be simple, but it tells a lot about the human condition. Town people come to a photoshoot to escape and to see the exotic, but their own backyard is quite remarkable in and of itself. It may be bizarre at times, but you can’t take your eyes away.
 / 5

“Parvaneh”
A journey to send money back home to her family becomes a real adventures as the title character is in a strange town. Her name means butterfly and once she stretches her wings, she can really fly.
 / 5

“The Phone Call”
This one is the most emotionally stirring of the group and could be the winner on Oscar Sunday. It features Sally Hawkins as a woman at a crisis center. Jim Broadbent plays the mysterious caller. The clock in her office ticks as the
call continues, each second precious while she tries to save the man’s life.
 / 5

Learn more about watching all of the shorts yourself here.

The 87th Academy Awards, for outstanding film achievements of 2014, will be presented on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, and will be televised live on ABC and in more than 225 countries worldwide.
 

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