Well, the Oscars have come and gone. And what a show. Neil Patrick Harris was fantastic as host, we had a couple of heartfelt speeches and we had some amazing nominees. This has been one of the strongest Oscar seasons I’ve seen in years, not to mention the first time I’ve gotten the chance to see every nominated movie and short film before the ceremony.
So here’s what I’m gonna do today: for a few select awards from last night’s show, I’ll pull from a list of the nominees and recommend one of the ones that didn’t win the Oscar. Here we go!
Best Live-Action Short: Parvaneh
This is a really hard one to choose and, really, I recommend that you look up all of the nominees. The fact the my personal favorite, The Phone Call, won the award last night isn’t making this any easier. But if I had to choose one, I would recommend Pavaneh.
Pavaneh focuses on an immigrant from Afghanistan trying to send money to her family overseas to pay their doctor. In her struggles, she ends up developing a friendship with a native citizen who tries to show her life in the city. It’s a captivating piece, well worth a watch.
Best Animated Short: The Dam Keeper
Again, if you can find a way to see all of the nominees this year, you should. Each and every one of these is a gem. But my favorite of the bunch is The Dam Keepper.
The Dam Keeper focuses on a young pig with an important job, keep the dam up and the windmill running. Keep the darkness at bay. For his troubles, he is ridiculed and ostracized at his school, until he develops a friendship with a newly-arrived student.
Nearly dialogue-less, this short is able to sell all of it’s emotion off of the animation and a few stock sound effects. It’s a beautiful and heartwarming piece.
Best Feature Film: Whiplash
Once again, a tough choice, made even harder by the fact that my favorite, Birdman, took home the gold. I also know that my choice is not going to be a popular one, but my second favorite movie this last year was Whiplash.
Whiplash focuses on college-age drummer Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller) who get swept up into the top competing jazz class. These “studio players” are led by the conductor Terrance Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), an abusive teacher whose aggressive treatment pushes Andrew to the extreme in the pursuit of Fletcher’s approval. What results is an intense and thought-provoking look at the unhealthy addiction to accomplishment, filled with stellar performances and an enticing jazz soundtrack.
What were your favorites this year? Let me know in the comments!