14 January 2015

The SpyGlasses Full: Official Nominations (2014)

The following are my official nominations for the year in film 2014. As expected, I have not had the chance to see every film that ought to be considered in contention this year, so certain films such as Fury and A Most Violent Year may yet tweak these nominations in certain categories. With that said and without further ado:

Best Film
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Mr. Turner
Song of the Sea
Under the Skin
Best Director
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Damien Chazelle, Whiplash
Jonathan Glazer, Under the Skin
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman
Lasse Hallström, The Hundred-Foot Journey
Best Actor
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler
Michael Keaton
, Birdman
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
Timothy Spall, Mr. Turner
Best Actress
Jennifer Aniston, Cake
Essie Davis, The Babadook
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon, Wild
Best Supporting Actor
Ed Norton, Birdman
Henry G. Sanders, Selma
J. K. Simmons, Whiplash
Best Supporting Actress
Adriana Barraza, Cake
Laura Dern, Wild
Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
Lesley Manville, Mr. Turner
Rene Russo, Nightcrawler
Best Art Direction
Simon Bowles & Liz Griffiths, Pride
Suzie Davies & Charlotte Watts
, Mr. Turner
Dennis Gassner & Anna Pinnock, Into the Woods
Adrien Merigeau, Song of the Sea
Adam Stockhausen & Anna Pinnock
, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Cinematography
Daniel Landin, Under the Skin
Tomm Moore
, Song of the Sea
Dick Pope, Mr. Turner
Robert D. Yeoman, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Lukasz Zal & Ryszard Lenczewski, Ida
Best Costuming
Colleen Atwood, Into the Woods
Bob Buck, Lesley Burkes-Harding, & Ann Maskrey; The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Milena Canonero, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Jacqueline Durran, Mr. Turner
Charlotte Walter, Pride
Best Make-Up
Christine Blundell, Mr. Turner
Frances Hannon, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Paul Gooch & David White, Maleficent
Peter King, Into the Woods
Best Visual Effects
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Guardians of the Galaxy
Into the Woods
Under the Skin
Best Original Score
Bruno Coulais & Kila, Song of the Sea
Alexandre Desplat; The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game
Justin Hurwitz, Whiplash
Mica Levi, Under the Skin
Hans Zimmer
, Interstellar
Best Original Song
"Everything Is Awesome" by Jo Li, The Lego Movie
"Song of the Sea" by Lisa Hannigan, Song of the Sea
Best Sound Editing
Jason Canovas, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Will Files & Douglas Murray, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Wayne Lemmer & Christopher Scarabosio, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Alan Murray & Bub Asman, American Sniper
Best Sound Mixing
Christopher Boyes & Lora Hirschburg, Guardians of the Galaxy
Johnnie Burn, Under the Skin
Michael Keller & Mike Prestwood Smith, Into the Woods
Gregg Landaker & Gary Rizzo, Interstellar
Craig Mann & Ben Wilkins, Whiplash
Best Editing
Kirk Baxter, Gone Girl
Tom Cross
, Whiplash
John Gilroy, Nightcrawler
William Goldenberg, The Imitation Game
Paul Watts, Under the Skin
Best Screenplay (Original)
Will Collins, Song of the Sea
Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Mike Leigh, Mr. Turner
Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, The Lego Movie
Best Screenplay (Adapted)
Walter Campbell & Jonathan Glazer, Under the Skin
Damien Chazelle, Whiplash
Nick Hornby, Wild
James Lapine, Into the Woods
Best Animated Film (Feature-Length)
The Lego Movie
Song of the Sea
Best Animated Film (Short)
The Bigger Picture
A Single Life
Best Documentary Film (Feature-Length or Short)
Finding Vivian Maier
Best Foreign-Language Film (Live-Action or Animated, Feature-Length or Short)

Review: Into the Woods

I wish to have the curse reversed; remove from this piece the blight of one Robert Marshall, muddier of waters, sallower of songs, and extinguisher of comedies.

Into the Woods, Mr. Sondheim's most fecund piece, was not meanly adapted for the screen, but in being put there certainly expended some of its most precious resource, in his music and words. While Mr. Marshall's quavering hand managed to coax in a few fine moments, they composed the minority amidst a series of blanched others. Mr. Depp's one song, "Hello, Little Girl", and the princes' duet, "Agony" — both challenging, comedic, and lusty songs — were stripped of their verve, joke after pun lost on the audience, whose members at least in my company did not laugh there (or in many other places where they should). No, rather, the material felt a bit dull escaping those three actors' lips. Now, partially this fault is the actors'; Mr. Depp especially ought know better than to subdue himself entirely, when the song calls for more than the final burst of want. However, ultimately one must lay this fault at the feet of the director, for it is his and no one's else, the charge of bringing his actors to that point where the story is well told and its meaning well expressed.

Ms. Kendrick alone, revealing her Broadway training, managed to feel her way through the songs with independent intuition — though, it must be said, Ms. Streep's natural talent did guide her cleanly through most of her numbers. A similar appendum may be offered for Mr. Corden, whom this blog has not rightly seen since The History Boys (2006) and who has his own Broadway accolade to his credit.

The heart of the piece, however, beat erratically in the insufficiently wised Ms. Blunt, a striving but ultimately shortfalling Baker's Wife. Though to her credit her performance was better than I had expected it to be, it still ultimately left me wanting that thinness but cleverness of mind and feeling which, say, Tony Award winner Joanna Gleason had breathed into the role in its début; for Ms. Blunt too let jokes fall flat and emotions generally run off track when she wasn't paying well enough attention to the path before her.

Though I confess I was not raving, "Out of the woods! Let me out of the woods!", by film's end I was relieved to find that no more time remained for Mr. Marshall to risk fumbling.

Grade: B/B-, beautiful to see at times but choppy like the sea throughout.