Oscar Best Picture nominees review round up

Given they aren't a London event, not much space will be devoted to the Oscars here. Far more educated academics and critics have noted some salient points/omissions/offences committed by this year's batch of nominations from the Academy. The glaring omission of non-white and non-male directors, actors and screenwriters in the nominations listings has generated a wave of criticism across the media, with much of it focused on the specific example of director Ava DuVernay's Martin Luther King biopic Selma getting only two nods and none for best director or actor. Mike Leigh's Mr Turner and Paul Thomas Andersons's Inherent Vice continued to be overlooked in the big categories, to the consternation of many. The Lego Movie also surprisingly missed out on a nod for best animated film.

Beyond that, the best film and director lists contained few shocks, though The Imitation Game's large number of award nominations (more than Richard Linklater's acclaimed Boyhood, Bennett Miller's Foxcatcher and even the similar British "genius" biopic The  Theory of Everything) confused many, including this writer. Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel's dominance with nine nominations each did not surprise.

One of the best dissections of the nominations came from NPR's Linda Holmes, who notes that it certainly was a good nomination list if you were either directing, writing or acting in a film about an idiosyncratic white man.

Below are the review from Smoke Screen for the films in the Best Film nomination pool, excepting Selma, American Sniper and Whiplash which will be reviewed by end of month.

Best picture reviews
American Sniper
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything

Full Oscar listings here.


Owen Van Spall

Greetings. I am a Film History MA graduate from Birkbeck University of London and a trained NCTJ qualified journalist. Apart from a long history of film and news writing for this site and various other publications, I am also a trained photographer with my own camera kit. I write mostly every day. Along the way I have picked up work experience at Sight & Sound, The Guardian, The Independent, The FT, The New Statesman, and more. I have written hard news stories, features, arranged and conducted interviews with celebrities, film directors and other major cultural figures, arranged photo shoots, and covered film festivals, conferences and events in the UK and abroad. If you wish to commission me or enquire about full-time opportunities please find my CV and contact details below. A physical portfolio of print only cuttings can also be provided.