2015 oscars preview ft. sam

The Oscars are tonight and most of you have probably not even watched half of the movies. Now you can’t go into Oscar night without any working knowledge of the movies nominated, so that’s why I’m here to help.

And by help I mean probably make things worse. Normal people would get knowledge from astute movie critics who have seen every movie, but for some reason you’re here reading the opinions of someone who hasn’t even watched all the trailers yet.

Luckily, I brought along guest blogger Samantha Sobolewski, who lives for movies, and has a “popular” (she made me put that in) segment on Twitter called “Sobo’s Movie Reviews” which are usually more riveting than the actual film she’s reviewing (again, her words, not mine). Where I fail in my assessment, hopefully she shines because she’s actually seen most of the movies. So we’ve got all our bases covered. Her thoughts will be in italics.

I can’t believe you made me do this again.

Two years ago Sam saw 7/9 movies, and the two she didn’t see looked sucky, so I let it slide.

Last year my movie expert apparently only saw 6/9. As great as those two numbers are in succession, it was simply unacceptable so I gave her a paycut.

Uhhhhhh, I’m doing this for free, asshole.

Anyways, this year she’s upped her game and watched 7/8 just as as I asked her to a year ago.

The competition for Best Picture this year is absolutely fierce. I have seen three (!) of the movies and 66 percent of them were actually pretty good, which is a surprise to me since I don’t usually enjoy decent movies. Let’s take a look at the nominees.

The Nominees

American Sniper

I actually saw this one!

It wasn’t that great.

It was emotionally powerful and Bradley Cooper was phenomenal, but the plot was exaggerated rubbish.

Let me sum it up for you. White guy goes to war. Coloured guys are bad. White guys are good. Lead white guy kills lots of evil coloured guys and even a lil’ coloured kid. That’s the plot essentially. This is Clint Eastwood’s perception of the Iraq War, an idealized vision of heroes and villains where everything is black or white, and if you’re not white you’re probably getting shot by Bradley Cooper. I guess I shouldn’t have expected more from a devout Republican who once argued with an empty chair he swore was the president.

I didn’t see American Sniper, mainly because I think Clint Eastwood is a bad director, I don’t believe in the Iraq war and I don’t care about “the most lethal sniper in U.S. history” or whatever the movie tag line was. I mean, they couldn’t even get a real baby cast in this film so they had to use a fake one. I think that says something about the movie. I think you not knowing the baby in the movie was fake also says a lot about you, Dom…

The truth is that I don’t like babies so I pay no attention to them and apparently I can’t tell the difference between a real one and a fake one.


I’m going to assume this is the next Marvel superhero movie, so I’m pretty excited about this trailer.

So apparently it is about superheroes! Nice. Birdman, from what I can deduce is about an alcoholic who was once a famous guy because he was on TV or something and now he only speaks in monologues and wants to make a broadway play, I’m not sure why. But then he forgets about the play, possibly because of Emma Stone, because he realizes life is a play and then he grows wings and starts flying and then he’s walking through Times Square in his underwear (???) and somewhere in between he joined Fight Club. Basically the movie is about drugs I think. Looks riveting though.

Drugs?…you think the movie is—uh, okay. Uh. Maybe you should go watch the Sesame Street parody to give you a better indication to what the movie’s all about. Moving right along to my review…


Birdman was a lot like Darren Aronofsky’s Oscar-winning Black Swan, but with less lesbian sex and better cinematography. Some parts were predictable, others I didn’t understand, but it was weird and refreshingly different. Plus Ed Norton has a boner on stage in one scene, and that alone was worth it to watch.

Sam has no idea that she can see all the boners she wants for free on this thing called the internet.


As a young male, I enjoyed this tale of a boy being a regular old boy doing boy things. As we learned from Birdman’s trailer, life is the movie, so what better way to show that then through filming the same people over a 12 year span? Ambitious in scope, Boyhood was a tremendously powerful movie. The only thing that would’ve made the whole ‘film the same kid over 12 years thing’ better was if he was a wizard too. Wait.


Who knew watching a boy go through puberty could be so much fun?! Twelve years of filming aside, Boyhood was genuine, honest and beautiful storytelling. It was a simple concept executed well that miraculously kept my attention during its marathon 2 hours 46 minutes run time. On a personal note, big fan that writer/director Richard Linklater included in the very relatable emo phase of Mason’s life.

What Sam was not a big fan of: no mention of who Mason’s favourite emo bands were at the time. My money is on Mayday Parade.


I went to copy and paste the trailer and apparently Cuba Gooding Jr. was in this? Did I fall asleep during that part?

Anyways, this movie was very good in that I felt very emotional watching it. That the issues that were being tackled at the time are still unresolved 50 years later is reprehensible. It ran a little long, and the dialogue was exhausting at times, but there were many scenes that were extremely powerful and left a lasting impression.


Crazy historical inaccuracies aside, Selma was powerful as hell and hit me in the feels numerous times throughout my screening, particularly the awful bridge scene as the black characters are beaten to a pulp on national television. I dare you to try and tell me you’re not inspired by that Common rap in the closing credits. It’s physically impossible. For shame on the Academy for giving it two measly nominations.

For once were on the same page here. Huzzah?

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Nothing at all about this trailer made me ever want to consider watching this movie, so I know Sam will be all over it.

*scrolls down*

Ah, of course this was Sam’s favourite movie so far. I’m surprised she didn’t list everything she loved about the movie like Stefon would. So I’ll do it for her. Ahem…

If you need a place to get weird, I’ve got just the place for you…

New York’s hottest club is The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Located in the Budapest hotel district on Upper 144th St. this club was fashioned to be entirely symmetrical so that everything was always equal on both sides no matter where you were inside. This place has everything: weird coloured uniforms, funny hats, the colour red, 4:3 frames, an old lady playing a violin with her toes, old people sex, British accents, weird face marks, and Owen Wilson. It also comes with brunch.

Oh well brunch sounds nice!

Brunches are punches to the face by Adrien Brody.


Quirky Wes Anderson’s movie had action, romance, subtle comedy and most importantly, delicious looking pastries and a Bill Murray cameo. Voldemort himself was cast as the perfect lead, while Anderson’s beloved symmetrical shots and the multiple frame narrative made it easy to get lost in. Unless you’re Lexi Allison and you fell asleep (actually in her defence I think it was Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom she actually slept through). One of the best films of the year, by far.

I don’t blame you at all, Lexi. Not at all.

The Imitation Game

So this movie looks like a guy who hates people and likes math. My only question is how have I not seen this movie?! Without this man who I’m assuming invented computers from the trailer, I wouldn’t be able to type this thing to you right now. Revolutionary. This movie’s about Steve Jobs right?


If you know anything about Alan Turing –

(so it’s not about Steve Jobs…)

—which I didn’t until I saw this film was playing at TIFF and tried to get tickets–you can imagine just how heartbreaking it was to see his story play out on the big screen. It was tense, it was so sad and overall just really well acted and shot. But, like, has Benedict Cumberbatch ever been in anything bad? HAS HE?!

Sam’s forgetting he was in the Hobbit trilogy.

Says the man who saw part one at midnight on opening day. Besides, he played the goddamn dragon. That doesn’t count.

The original trilogy was good! I can’t help but be excited for the prequel trilogy, that’s never blown up in my face before.

The Theory Of Everything

More math power! Woo! Stephen Hawking is an inspirational figure, but this movie trailer seems like they’re trying too hard to show that with the power of Love. If everything in the world can be powered by love, Hawking would’ve made his time machine and powered it with all that love. Ever think of that? Exactly, checkmate.


I saw The Theory of Everything in the presence of babe star Eddie Redmayne at TIFF and not even basking in his glory could sway me from my opinion that the movie was a giant piece of Oscar bait trying way too hard to be inspirational. Warm lights, lens flares, oh please, TTOE (really Sam, just abbreviating things like everyone will understand?). I know what you were trying to do. That said, Redmayne deserves the Best Actor Oscar more than anyone in the category for his performance as Stephen Hawking.

Apparently Eddie Redmayne is the favourite to win Best Actor according to Vegas which shows how out of touch I am because I had no idea who he was up until now.


When I first saw the trailer for Whiplash I really wanted to see it. Really cool to see J.K. Simmons get out of the Spiderman Photo business and turn his hand to jazz teacher. This movie actually looks incredibly intense which is something I never thought I would say about a movie about jazz music.


I’m being 100 per cent serious when I say Whiplash was more intense than ¾ of the action movies I’ve ever seen in my lifetime. I physically threw my hands over my eyes during scenes because of how dramatic it all was. The characters were all pretty deplorable and jazz music makes my ears bleed, but the performances in the heavy Whiplash were legendary. Now star JK Simmons never has to do another Farmers Insurance commercial again!

Picturing Sam cover her eyes in fear watching a movie about a jazz musician is making me giggle.

and the winner is…

Amazingly, I’ve watched almost half of these movies, which in my opinion makes me an expert. It was a difficult crop to choose from because for once most of the movies actually looked watchable which is not something you can say every year.

For my pick though, I’m gonna go off the board a bit…

The best picture of 2014 was The Lego Movie, end of story.

Now I understand that the movie wasn’t even nominated for best animated picture for some reason, but really there was no better movie. Period. This movie combined literally every genre into an action-packed Lego thrill ride. It was suspenseful, heartwarming, dramatic, hilarious and it was inventive. I mean it literally invented the bunk couch. Did any other movie invent anything? Exactly. It also starred Chris Pratt as a lego guy and Will Ferrell as an old man who plays with legos which is actually my future. I laughed, I cried, I bought lego afterwards because really it was a two hour advertisement, but still, everything about the movie was awesome.

Now here’s Sam with an actual pick.

Okay, so there’s a serious chance it’ll actually go to Birdman, but Boyhood nabbed a bunch of the big awards leading up to the Oscars and like, it was shot over 12 damn years.

Meanwhile Birdman was pretending to be shot with one take. The Academy loves gimmicks more than they love good movies, and nothing says job well done academy than awarding a movie shot with the same group of people for over a decade. So I’m voting the beautiful Boyhood.

A solid choice, but it would’ve been better if it was made in Lego. Anyways, thanks for reading and thanks to Sam for joining me. After last year’s debacle where she stormed off I’m surprised she even came back, but after messaging her it was discovered she completely forgot she even wrote something last year. Top end talent right there.

Yes, well thank you for reminding me to come back before forcing allowing me to come back, Dom. Everything is awesome.


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