Adam Schoales
Editor. Geek. Tea Drinker.

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Thoughts, process, and other ramblings.


Oscars 2015

So the Academy Awards have come and gone, and now everyone is going to rush out to see the big winners. I'm sure for many people the night was spent cross checking their lists of what they predicted would win and lose. For the past few years I've always kept two lists running: who will win and who should win. I must admit this year was much harder to call. Not only were there a lot of really great films, but depending on how the wind was blowing the "will win" could go to more than one option. But the results are in. The mystery is over. Here's my thoughts on this years big winners.


Man, each and every one of these actors were phenomenal this year (okay, Ruffalo was hit or miss), and picking one is no easy feat. But then I saw Whiplash and agreed with what everyone was saying; Simmons was going to win. He simply had to. His performance was the one to beat. Like the film, it was full of passion, and was truly astonishing. Well deserved, and exactly what I expected. Gave a great speech too; from the heart, but still kept it tight (much like the film).


I had a tough time picking this one, but went with my gut and picked Grand Budapest. Clearly that was the correct answer, and I have to say seeing the clips again the designs really are fantastic.

makeup/hair: The grand Budapest Hotel

I picked Foxcatcher because of that incredible nose on Steve Carrell. I forgot about the age makeup on Tilda Swinton... So, well deserved. Also the shoutout to Dick Smith, a true genius, was a nice touch.

Foreign language film: IDA

I'll be honest; I saw none of these. And yet, for some reason I was inclined to pick Ida (I think I saw the trailer or something...). It was a lucky guess.

live action short: The phonecall

I didn't see any of these, and didn't even bother making a guess. One year I'll get a chance to screen them... But the moustachioed gentleman had a beautiful tux. I wouldn't mind wearing that to my wedding.

documentary short: Crisis hotline

Again, didn't see any of these, but picked Crisis Hotline based on the name and what I assumed the subject matter was. A good guess. I look forward to seeing this one.

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At this point I'm growing incredibly tired by these terrible "bits". Don't get me wrong, I think Neil Patrick Harris is a great host, and one only has to look as far as the Tonys to see that. But clearly the Oscars writing staff is either phoning it in, or possibly didn't show up for work this morning. These bits aren't funny, nor are they particularly clever. And what's worse is that we're cutting peoples speeches short on one of the most important nights of their lives in order to do more of them.

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sound mixing: Whiplash

I always get sound mixing and sound editing confused, but either way I picked Interstellar because I wanted it to win something and figured the technical nods were a given (and because I didn't have the same complaints about the sound mix that everyone else did). That said, Whiplash is definitely very deserving.

sound editing: american sniper

So think of sound editing as sound design... which is again why I picked Interstellar. Because what does space sound like? That said, not super surprising a war film would win it - after all, that's a lot of gun shot sounds to drop in. Don't worry Interstellar, there's still VFX...

best supporting actress: patricia arquette

I picked Patricia Arquette because not only was her performance truly outstanding, but it was carried through over 10 years, which is a truly remarkable feat. She was the best thing about Boyhood. Clearly the Academy agreed. Truly a well deserved win. And a powerful message about wage equality and equal rights for women in America to boot.

visual effects: Interstellar

I picked Interstellar, again, because I figured it deserved to win at least something, and black holes. But in all seriousness, the visual effects in Interstellar were truly out of this world (sorry)! Not to mention the fact that all the other nominees had in your face, LOOK AT ME I'M CGI VFX.

animated short: feast

Again, I didn't see any of these... but wish I had. 

animated feature: big hero 6

Well let's face it; The Lego Movie should have been nominated, and should have won. Hell, NPH even made fun of the fact it wasn't. Anyways, I picked Big Hero 6 because Disney.

production design: the grand budapest hotel

Generally speaking you can bet whatever the biggest period drama is will take home production design. This year it was much harder to call because each and every one of the films had outstandingly beautiful production design. That said, I went with my gut and picked Grand Budapest because it truly was a visual feast.

cinematography: Birdman

Poor Deakins... one day he'll win. That said, Emmanuel Lubezki's extraordinary work on Birdman is truly deserving of its award. Especially when you consider the fact that without Lubeski's work the film would have been pretty dull.

editing: whiplash

Damn right Whiplash won! That final performance of Caravan alone deserves the award. It also was perhaps the best paced film I've seen this year. What an outstanding piece of filmmaking.

documentary feature: Citizen four

Last year 50 Feet From Stardom won, despite being a rather dull film that would have been a far superior documentary short. I felt the same about Finding Vivian Maier - an interesting film that runs out of steam far too quickly. Citizen Four on the other hand was the most riveting thriller I've seen in some time. I was hoping it would win, but bet that inding Vivian Maier would. I'm glad I was wrong. Also, don't expect to ever see this acceptance speech ever again...

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It's now 11 O'clock and I'm seriously running out of steam. This has to be the dullest telecast in years. At least that one with James Franco was entertaining because of how awful he and Anne Hathaway were. But NPH is actually trying...

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original song: selma

After that performance there was no doubt it was going to win.

original score: the grand budapest hotel

Hans Zimmer's incredible score for Interstellar took an emotionally powerful film into the stratosphere (again, sorry). Some of the most powerful music I've ever heard in a cinema, with moments that rivalled 2001, and I would say the first big snub of the night. That said, Desplat's score for The Grand Budapest Hotel is full of whimsy, so there's that.

original screenplay: birdman

Since I'm convinced Boyhood will take home Best Director and Best Picture, it made sense that this would take home best original screenplay. I might have given it to Grand Budapest though...

adapted screenplay: the imitation game

Called it!! Fantastic! An outstanding film that in any other year would clean up. And an incredibly powerful speech about equality, which is always lovely.

best director: alejandro g. iñárritu

The second snub of the night. Linklater made his film over 10 years. That's dedication. And as pretentious as Boyhood was, it was no where near as pretentious as Birdman. Sure, Birdman has a neat schtick (and so does Boyhood) but honestly I think that went to the wrong guy.

best actor: eddie redmayne

Again, this was a really tough year to call because all of these performances were outstanding. Keaton was the only one to create a character, not just adapt a real life person, but Eddie Redmayne gave a truly transformative performance. 

best actress: julianne moore

And again, so many outstanding performances. But Julianne Moore carried that film with her brave and honest portrayal of a horrible disease. And even I can't be cynical about her performance this year. Though a part of me really was pulling for Rosamond Pike for her chilling portrayal of a murderous psychopath. 

best picture: birdman

Well, I was gunning for Boyhood between it and Birdman but as the night went on it was pretty clear what the end result would be. Boyhood is pure cinema, and something that you could only achieve in film. It, like many of the great Oscar "snubs" will stand the test of time. Birdman is mostly a schtick, and while technically so was Boyhood, it was at least an original one (discounting Michael Apted's Up series). Birdman has been done, maybe not quite as well, and really feels much closer to a play than anything else. I like theatre as much as the next guy (if not more), but cinema is a wholly different art form.

Of course, if it were up to me it'd have gone to Whiplash.


favourite moments

  • The opening musical number wasn't the best its been in previous years, but the projection mapped backgrounds were really cool and super impressive. Also, Anna Kendrick. 

  • Will Arnett and Questlove cameos as Batman and Robin during "Everything Is Awesome", I mean, how do you top that?
  • Every time Whiplash won something.
  • The Motion Graphics Package - not as good as last years, but got better and better as time went on, and by the end I was a big fan.
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