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Oscar Winners 2015

Oscar Winners 2015

Going into the season, only a handful of pre-fall movies had Oscar potential; critics and guild groups kept them in the conversation over the long haul. They include Wes Anderson’s well-wrought hit “Grand Budapest Hotel,” which gains points for lush period but loses some for comedy. The March Fox Searchlight release was the highest-grossing indie of 2014 and remarkably, stayed in Academy voters’ minds and took home the Best Comedy Golden Globe and five BAFTA awards, which could repeat Oscar night.

Similarly, Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood” (IFC) earned critics’ kudos for its daring and unique 12-year time travel. The small-scale indie–and summer hit– sustained itself over a year, from January’s Sundance through the long awards slog. So far, so good, as “Boyhood” keeps racking up key wins such as Best Film from the New York and Los Angeles Film Critics and BAFTAs and Best Drama at the Golden Globes. Also emerging from Sundance with stellar reviews was intense crowdpleaser “Whiplash,” starring breakout young star Miles Teller and character veteran J.K. Simmons, who leads the supporting actor contenders.

That SPC coming-of-age jazz tale went on to wow Cannes, which yielded more SPC awards contenders: Bennett Miller’s precisely directed “Foxcatcher,” starring Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo; Mike Leigh’s exquisite period portrait of the great master painter, “Mr. Turner,” whose Timothy Spall took home the Best Actor prize and later, won Best Actor from the New York Film Critics Circle but failed to land a BAFTA or Oscar nom; eventual foreign contenders “Wild Tales” (Argentina) and “Leviathan” (Russia) and Wim Wenders’ exquisite four-hankie doc contender “The Salt of the Earth.” 

Breaking big at both Venice and Telluride, followed by NYFF closing night, was Alejandro González Iñárritu’s scabrous and exhilarating showbiz comedy “Birdman,” starring superb acting contenders Michael Keaton, Edward Norton and Emma Stone (all are collecting key nominations and awards). Keaton won the comedy Globe and Critics Choice Award, and “Birdman” scored the Guild trifecta with wins at SAG (ensemble), PGA and DGA. Telluride debuted three lit adaptations: writer Nick Hornby and director Jean-Marc Vallee’s film version of Cheryl Strayed’s  “Wild,” a mother-daughter drama starring Oscar contenders Laura Dern and Reese Witherspoon (Searchlight); and Weinstein Co.’s World War II code-cracking thriller “The Imitation Game,” starring a blazing Benedict Cumberbatch with ace support from Keira Knightley. 

Toronto brought yet another period Brit biopic (catnip for Academy voters: see “The King’s Speech”) from Working Title/Focus Features, James Marsh’s “The Theory of Everything,” a two-hander boasting superb performances from Eddie Redmayne –as another genius, ALS-suffering physicist Stephen Hawking– and Felicity Jones as his equally heroic wife Jane. Redmayne has won the Globe drama, SAG and BAFTA awards, which usually foretell an Oscar win. Other performances earned plaudits at TIFF and strong reviews: Open Road’s “Nightcrawler” from writer-director Dan Gilroy, and Julianne Moore as a college professor with Alzheimer’s in “Still Alice,” which became a must-see the second it was acquired by SPC. Opening nighter “The Judge” (Warner Bros.) yielded mixed reviews overall but positive notices for Robert Duvall in the supporting title role. 

A strong opening nighter at the New York Film Festival was the much-anticipated mystery thriller from David Fincher, “Gone Girl” (Fox), starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, which earned kudos from many critics and went on to score with audiences. Fincher failed to land a DGA nod, however, and the film wound up only nabbing a Best Actress nod for Pike. Paul Thomas Anderson’s free-wheeling adaptation of the 70s-set Thomas Pynchon novel “Inherent Vice” was met with critical acclaim, small box office and two Oscar nominations, for Adapted Screenplay and Costumes.

Late-breaking movies faced daunting odds this year against movies with already established buzz and momentum, including AFI FEST debut “Selma,” Ava DuVernay’s sprawling Martin Luther King biopic starring a magnificent David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King, Jr. (backed by Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo, Brad Pitt’s Plan B, Pathe and Paramount) and Clint Eastwood’s well-made true war story “American Sniper,” starring Bradley Cooper in a transformative title role, which rode Eastwood and Cooper’s star power to multiple Guild nominations and five Oscar nods including Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay and Actor, but not Director.

Both opened well in limited release on Christmas Day. Finally modest-scale Indie Spirit Award nominee “Selma” only mustered Best Song and Best Picture nominations under sustained attacks on its historical accuracy; in the intense race for Best Actor, Cooper and Carell scored the last two spots at the expense of Gyllenhaal, Oyelowo and Fiennes.  

Among the usual late-year entries not booked on the fest circuit, original writer James Lapine and “Chicago” director Rob Marshall’s lavishly entertaining Disney version of Stephen Sondheim’s fairy tale musical “Into the Woods” yielded a supporting actress slot for Meryl Streep, who has logged a record 19 nominations.

Scoring in three tech categories–including a 12th nomination for cinematographer Roger Deakins– was director Angelina Jolie’s late-breaking World War II survivor story “Unbroken,” which was savaged by some critics and snubbed by both SAG and the Golden Globes. 

Nominations are listed below in alphabetical order, with final winners in bold. 

Performance by an actor in a leading role
Steve Carell in “Foxcatcher”
Bradley Cooper in “American Sniper”
Benedict Cumberbatch in “The Imitation Game”
Michael Keaton in “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
Eddie Redmayne in “The Theory of Everything”
Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Robert Duvall in “The Judge”
Ethan Hawke in “Boyhood”
Edward Norton in “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
Mark Ruffalo in “Foxcatcher”
J.K. Simmons in “Whiplash”
Performance by an actress in a leading role
Marion Cotillard in “Two Days, One Night”
Felicity Jones in “The Theory of Everything”
Julianne Moore in “Still Alice”
Rosamund Pike in “Gone Girl”
Reese Witherspoon in “Wild”
Performance by an actress in a supporting role
Patricia Arquette in “Boyhood”
Laura Dern in “Wild”
Keira Knightley in “The Imitation Game”
Emma Stone in “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
Meryl Streep in “Into the Woods”
Best animated feature film of the year
“Big Hero 6” Don Hall, Chris Williams and Roy Conli
“The Boxtrolls” Anthony Stacchi, Graham Annable and Travis Knight
“How to Train Your Dragon 2” Dean DeBlois and Bonnie Arnold
“Song of the Sea” Tomm Moore and Paul Young
“The Tale of the Princess Kaguya” Isao Takahata and Yoshiaki Nishimura
Achievement in cinematography
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Emmanuel Lubezki
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Robert Yeoman
“Ida” Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski
“Mr. Turner” Dick Pope
“Unbroken” Roger Deakins
Achievement in costume design
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Milena Canonero
“Inherent Vice” Mark Bridges
“Into the Woods” Colleen Atwood
“Maleficent” Anna B. Sheppard and Jane Clive
“Mr. Turner” Jacqueline Durran
Achievement in directing
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Alejandro G. Iñárritu
“Boyhood” Richard Linklater
“Foxcatcher” Bennett Miller
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Wes Anderson
“The Imitation Game” Morten Tyldum
Best documentary feature
“CitizenFour” Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy and Dirk Wilutzky
“Finding Vivian Maier” John Maloof and Charlie Siskel
“Last Days in Vietnam” Rory Kennedy and Keven McAlester
“The Salt of the Earth” Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado and David Rosier
“Virunga” Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara
Best documentary short subject
“Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1” Ellen Goosenberg Kent and Dana Perry
“Joanna” Aneta Kopacz
“Our Curse” Tomasz Sliwinski and Maciej Slesicki
“The Reaper (La Parka)” Gabriel Serra Arguello
“White Earth” J. Christian Jensen
Achievement in film editing
“American Sniper” Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach
“Boyhood” Sandra Adair
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Barney Pilling
“The Imitation Game” William Goldenberg
“Whiplash” Tom Cross
Best foreign language film of the year
“Ida” Poland
“Leviathan” Russia
“Tangerines” Estonia
“Timbuktu” Mauritania
“Wild Tales” Argentina
Achievement in makeup and hairstyling
“Foxcatcher” Bill Corso and Dennis Liddiard
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier
“Guardians of the Galaxy” Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou and David White
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Alexandre Desplat
“The Imitation Game” Alexandre Desplat
“Interstellar” Hans Zimmer
“Mr. Turner” Gary Yershon
“The Theory of Everything” Jóhann Jóhannsson
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
“Everything Is Awesome” from “The Lego Movie” Music and Lyric by Shawn Patterson
“Glory” from “Selma” Music and Lyric by John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn
“Grateful” from “Beyond the Lights”
Music and Lyric by Diane Warren “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from “Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me”
Music and Lyric by Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond 
“Lost Stars” from “Begin Again” Music and Lyric by Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois
Best motion picture of the year
“American Sniper” Clint Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Andrew Lazar, Bradley Cooper and Peter Morgan, Producers
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher and James W. Skotchdopole, Producers
“Boyhood” Richard Linklater and Cathleen Sutherland, Producers
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales and Jeremy Dawson, Producers
“The Imitation Game” Nora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky and Teddy Schwarzman, Producers
“Selma” Christian Colson, Oprah Winfrey, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, Producers
“The Theory of Everything” Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce and Anthony McCarten, Producers
“Whiplash” Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook and David Lancaster, Producers
Achievement in production design
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
“The Imitation Game” Production Design: Maria Djurkovic; Set Decoration: Tatiana Macdonald
“Interstellar” Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Gary Fettis
“Into the Woods” Production Design: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
“Mr. Turner” Production Design: Suzie Davies; Set Decoration: Charlotte Watts
Best animated short film
“The Bigger Picture” Daisy Jacobs and Christopher Hees
“The Dam Keeper” Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi
“Feast” Patrick Osborne and Kristina Reed
“Me and My Moulton” Torill Kove
“A Single Life” Joris Oprins
Best live action short film
“Aya” Oded Binnun and Mihal Brezis
“Boogaloo and Graham” Michael Lennox and Ronan Blaney
“Butter Lamp (La Lampe Au Beurre De Yak)” Hu Wei and Julien Féret
“Parvaneh” Talkhon Hamzavi and Stefan Eichenberger
“The Phone Call” Mat Kirkby and James Lucas
Achievement in sound editing
“American Sniper” Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Martín Hernández and Aaron Glascock
“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” Brent Burge and Jason Canovas
“Interstellar” Richard King
“Unbroken” Becky Sullivan and Andrew DeCristofaro
Achievement in sound mixing
“American Sniper” John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Walt Martin
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and Thomas Varga
“Interstellar” Gary A. Rizzo, Gregg Landaker and Mark Weingarten
“Unbroken” Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and David Lee
“Whiplash” Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley
Achievement in visual effects
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Bryan Grill and Dan Sudick
“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett and Erik Winquist
“Guardians of the Galaxy” Stephane Ceretti, Nicolas Aithadi, Jonathan Fawkner and Paul Corbould
“Interstellar” Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher
“X-Men: Days of Future Past” Richard Stammers, Lou Pecora, Tim Crosbie and Cameron Waldbauer
Adapted screenplay
“American Sniper” Written by Jason Hall
“The Imitation Game” Written by Graham Moore
“Inherent Vice” Written for the screen by Paul Thomas Anderson
“The Theory of Everything” Screenplay by Anthony McCarten
“Whiplash” Written by Damien Chazelle
Original screenplay
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Written by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo
“Boyhood” Written by Richard Linklater
“Foxcatcher” Written by E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Screenplay by Wes Anderson; Story by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness
“Nightcrawler” Written by Dan Gilroy

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