All the Oscar 2015 Losers Still Worth Seeing

All the Oscar 2015 Losers Still Worth Seeing

Many people won't watch a film based solely on the fact that is was simply nominated for an Oscar. But if said movie takes home a statue, that's another story. "Academy Award winner" in front of a film title, actor, or director carries weight.

So here we are, just days after the 87th Academy Awards, with 24 winners chosen from 60 nominees. So, what about the films that didn't win? Here are all of the Oscar losers still worth seeing.

See also: David Cronenberg Talks About His New Film, Maps to the Stars

Inherent Vice
Inherent Vice
Photo by Wilson Webb / Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Best Original and Adapted Screenplays: The Grand Budapest Hotel and Inherent Vice

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Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) and The Imitation Game won Sunday night. Maybe you're tired of hearing about this oddly subtitled flick, or maybe you just don't care about BBC-looking biopics. Well, guess what? You're in luck!

Try some better scripts! Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness' The Grand Budapest Hotel, which was nominated in plenty of categories, is pretty much the peak of Anderson's work as a filmmaker. That said, it's surprisingly his most accessible work (though some might call Moonrise Kingdom that) and arguably his most hilarious. As for Inherent Vice, it's a strange and long movie that isn't for everyone, but it rewards those looking for a good time and willing to dive into a really cool adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's novel. Plus, who else can you imagine tackling a novel like Vice other than the incomparable Paul Thomas Anderson? Nobody.

Guardians of the Galaxy
Guardians of the Galaxy
Photo by Jay Maidment/Marvel Studios

Visual Effects and Makeup: Guardians of the Galaxy

Let's be honest: Nothing beats Interstellar when it comes to visual effects, especially after blowing audiences away with those perfect visuals on 70mm IMAX. But, y'know, Guardians of the Galaxy was pretty friggin' awesome too. It created a world of total delight because of its cool use of effects and makeup. Four parts of the five man/woman/raccoon/tree crew wouldn't have been possible or believable without either one of these categories. Sure, you've all probably seen it, but why not just pop it in for a rewatch this week? Go on! Dance with Chris Pratt (and keep wishing he'll bring the chub back).

Beyond the Lights
Beyond the Lights
Photo by Suzanne Tenner - Relativity Media

Best Original Song and Score: Beyond the Lights and Interstellar

"Glory" is a great, impactful, and incredibly relevant song from Selma, and Alexandre Desplat's work for The Grand Budapest Hotel is undoubtedly his best in years. (The Painted Veil, anyone?) But there are some other great works in this category, and it'd be a shame to ignore them because of their minor status compared to Best Picture and the like. It's hard to single out Rita Ora's "Grateful" from Beyond the Lights simply because it has such a rich soundtrack that's immaculately used throughout the film, but it's definitely a beautiful tune on its own.

And in Interstellar, Hans Zimmer finally broke out of his self-plagiarism spree. Maybe it's because I'm a sucker for the sound of organs, but it's impossible to have some of Interstellar's coolest moments without the accompanying music. Where Gravity had the benefit of using deafening silence for its best scenes, Nolan kills it by mixing in Zimmer's stellar (pardon the use of this word for this movie) and occasionally terrifying score and using it to great effect.

 

All the Oscar 2015 Losers Still Worth Seeing

Animated Feature Film: The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

We could talk about any of the four English-language nominees in the animation category — all of which are fine movies that deserve recognition — or we could talk about the truly best animated film in the category. Isao Takahata, the filmmaker who made every viewer sob himself to sleep with Grave of the Fireflies, brings to life one of the most beautiful animated narratives in years with The Tale of the Princess Kaguya.

It's not just about the film's deep narrative filled with rich characters, but also about his dedication to traditional animation. If you're not swept away by the touching and often heartbreaking story and the beautiful watercolors, there's something wrong with your taste in movies. You don't even need to watch it in Japanese with subtitles. An English dub is available, so you have no excuse not to see it.

Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl
Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl
Photo by Merrick Morton

Actress in a Leading Role: Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl

I could have gone with any one of the women in this category. Julianne Moore is well deserving of her win, Marion Cotillard's body language is immaculate, Wild's journey is notable only because of Reese Witherspoon's skill, and even Felicity Jones is more deserving than her award-winning costar in The Theory of Everything. But my favorite is Rosamund Pike. Maybe it's just my adoration for Gillian Flynn's novel Gone Girl talking, but there are few women who could have nailed all the shifts in personality that are required for the film. Pike nailed every emotional beat and delivered dialogue that both cut like a knife and lulled vieweres into a false sense of security.

Whiplash
Whiplash
Photo by Daniel McFadden

Best Picture: Every Film That Isn't Birdman and The Imitation Game

That's right. Any one of the six other nominees in this category is worthier of your time than Best Picture winner Birdman and the Adapted Screenplay winner The Imitation Game. One is an incredibly masturbatory work of art that everybody at the Academy seems to have fallen head over heels for, and the other is an insufferable work that glosses over anything remotely important in Alan Turing's life.

Instead, watch Whiplash for all the jazzy thrills that snagged it three Oscars, or see Selma for a historical flick done right and made by a woman who should have been up for Best Director. Watch American Sniper for a film that's well crafted despite its muddled politics, or check out The Grand Budapest Hotel for a delightful romp with a high kill count. And watch The Theory of Everything for two impressive performances or Boyhood for its ability to capture 12 years of time in such an interesting way.


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