The Big Boyhood v. Birdman Debate: Who Should Win What, and Why

Independent Spirit Award – Best Feature Film

Birdman is a work of directorial and cinematography genius. Alejandro González Iñárritu has made a breathtakingly beautiful creation with this film. When I saw this movie, I was immediately enraptured by everything, the sight, the sounds, the acting, the mood, the camera movements, the editing (or lack thereof). Everything about it draws you in. The captivating force behind this movie never stops. Even after the movie ends, it keeps going. If you’ve seen it, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, stop reading this and go watch it. I’ve only ever seen one movie shot like this, in the style of one continuous shot, Silent House, with Elizabeth Olsen. But that wasn’t produced nearly half as well as Birdman. It really is a one of a kind cinematic experience.

Golden Globe Winner – Best Motion Picture, Drama

British Independent Film Award – Best International Independent Film

BAFTA Film Award – Best Film

In the century or so that films have been around, no one has EVER done anything like this. That is literally one of the only reasons I believe Boyhood should win Best Film. Richard Linklater championed this wholly original idea and gave it everything he had, getting talented people on board supporting him because this idea is just so amazing. Literally, no other film has done anything like this. The only thing that comes close is a series of films using the same people a few years apart made by, oh…Richard Linklater. And he never got enough credit for that because they were just sequels. But this, this is something you can’t ignore. There’s nothing fake about it. No homogenization or commercialization. It was made by people who believed so much in it and in Linklater that it’s existence and the fact that it has blown up this much just goes to show the power of great art when people have the courage to support it. Even if the Academy doesn’t recognize the incredible talent and genius of this director and his film and all the people behind it, the world will. So, it doesn’t even matter.

Birdman is a great film and everyone should go see it, buy it, watch it. But Boyhood, that’s the kind of film you remember forever. The kind of film they teach about in forty years when movies are being shown on screens inside our brains, because it was so innovative and potentially changed the face of filmmaking forever. It’s also incredibly encouraging to aspiring filmmakers that you can have this radical idea and that if people believe in it- believe in you- it can happen. It’s awesome.

Regardless of how the Oscars go tomorrow, I think it’s undeniable that both of these film are stunningly beautiful works of art. But I know Boyhood is a film that I will never forget.

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Oscar Sunday Prep!

Oscar Night is here!! The ultimate in Slutty Dress Parties. The excitement starts with E!’s Livestream coverage at 5:25 which gives us at least 3 hours of red carpet fun before the award show begins at 8:30!

So in preparation for the big night:

LISTEN

to all the nominated songs, put together on this playlist.

READ

Indiewire’s exclusive interviews with the nominees.

LOOK

Before we can look forward to the Oscars red carpet, we first have to look back at some of the best fashion to ever walk it.

20 Best Oscar Red Carpet of All Time

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LEARN

Fandango put together this awesome “Oscars by the Numbers” infographic for our convenience.

 VOTE!

Get together with some friends, open some wine, and vote! Kate Spade made these cute little ballots, which makes it more fun. And the winner gets bragging rights until next year!

2015 Spirit Awards

I love that the night before the Oscars, probably the biggest, most prestigious night of the whole year in the film industry, is one of the most laid back nights, the Spirit Awards. Held on the beach in Santa Monica, CA, the spirit awards are an independent film award ceremony for films with awards like most other shows (Best Director, Best Actor, etc.) but also Best First Screenplay, Someone to Watch, and the Truer than Fiction award.

The definition is literally “The Independent Spirit Awards, founded in 1984, are awards dedicated to independent filmmakers. Winners were typically presented with acrylic glass pyramids containing suspended shoestrings representing the paltry budgets of independent films.” And this year celebrates the 30th anniversary, so clearly independent films can do big things.

Red Carpet:

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Awards:

BEST FEATURE

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Boyhood
Love is Strange
Selma
Whiplash

BEST DIRECTOR

Damien Chazelle, Whiplash
Ava DuVernay, Selma
Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
David Zellner, Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter

BEST SCREENPLAY

Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski, Big Eyes
J.C. Chandor, A Most Violent Year
Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler
Jim Jarmusch, Only Lovers Left Alive
Ira Sachs & Mauricio Zacharias, Love is Strange

BEST FIRST FEATURE

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Dear White People
Nightcrawler
Obvious Child
She’s Lost Control

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY

Desiree Akhavan, Appropriate Behavior
Sara Colangelo, Little Accidents
Justin Lader, The One I Love
Anja Marquardt, She’s Lost Control
Justin Simien, Dear White People

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD
*Given to the best feature made for under $500,000.
Blue Ruin
It Felt Like Love
Land Ho!
Man From Reno
Test

BEST FEMALE LEAD

Marion Cotillard, The Immigrant
Rinko Kikuchi, Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Jenny Slate, Obvious Child
Tilda Swinton, Only Lovers Left Alive

BEST MALE LEAD

André Benjamin, Jimi: All Is By My Side
Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler
Michael Keaton, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
John Lithgow, Love is Strange
David Oyelowo, Selma

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE

Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year
Carmen Ejogo, Selma
Andrea Suarez Paz, Stand Clear of the Closing Doors
Emma Stone, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

BEST SUPPORTING MALE

Riz Ahmed, Nightcrawler
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Alfred Molina, Love is Strange
Edward Norton, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Darius Khondji, The Immigrant
Emmanuel Lubezki, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Sean Porter, It Felt Like Love
Lyle Vincent, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Bradford Young, Selma

BEST EDITING

Sandra Adair, Boyhood
Tom Cross, Whiplash
John Gilroy, Nightcrawler
Ron Patane, A Most Violent Year
Adam Wingard, The Guest

BEST DOCUMENTARY

20,000 Days on Earth
CITIZENFOUR
Stray Dog
The Salt of the Earth
Virunga

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM

Force Majeure (Sweden)
Ida (Poland)
Leviathan (Russia)
Mommy (Canada)
Norte, the End of History (Philippines)
Under the Skin (United Kingdom)

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD
*Given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast

Inherent Vice
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Casting Director: Cassandra Kulukundis
Ensemble Cast: Josh Brolin, Martin Donovan, Jena Malone, Joanna Newsom, Joaquin Phoenix, Eric Roberts, Maya Rudolph, Martin Short Serena Scott Thomas, Benicio Del Toro, Katherine Waterston, Michael Kenneth Williams, Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon

SPECIAL DISTINCTION AWARD

Foxcatcher
Director/Producer: Bennett Miller
Producers: Anthony Bregman, Megan Ellison, Jon Kilik
Writers: E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman
Actors: Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo, Channing Tatum

18th ANNUAL PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD

*The 18th annual Producers Award, sponsored by Piaget, honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality, independent films. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Piaget.

Chad Burris
Elisabeth Holm
Chris Ohlson

21st ANNUAL KIEHL’S SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD
*The 21st annual Someone to Watch Award, sponsored by Kiehl’s Since 1851, recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Kiehl’s Since 1851.

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Director: Ana Lily Amirpour

H.
Directors: Rania Attieh & Daniel Garcia

The Retrieval
Director: Chris Eska

20th ANNUAL LENSCRAFTERS TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD
*The 20th annual Truer Than Fiction Award, sponsored by LensCrafters is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by LensCrafters.

Approaching the Elephant
Director: Amanda Rose Wilder

Evolution of a Criminal
Director: Darius Clark Monroe

The Kill Team
Director: Dan Krauss

The Last Season
Director: Sara Dosa

Sundance 2015

sundance

While it might not be as glamorous and prestigious as Cannes, the Sundance Film Festival still looks a helluva lot more fun. 11 days of film, workshops, and a mix of the greats and the up and comers. That they support independent filmmakers is amazing because it encourages people to take chances with film, and still have a place to present them to the world. And it’s on the West Coast which hopefully means I’ll get to visit next year while I’m living out there! I love the SFF Youtube page because they have awesome vids with interviews, meeting the artists, and the short film section! I couldn’t find a lot of the trailers of movies I’m excited about, but I did find great interviews or short vids of people talking about them. And there are so many that I’m excited about!!

Tangerine
Filmed completely on an iPhone!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2siyeuScmMQ

Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck
About the legend, while in Nirvana, and the rest of his life, with interviews of Courtney Love and Frances Bean.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwoIOivRiIQ

Me & Earl & The Dying Girl
Great cast. Moving story.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0NcXx9AZHE

Mistress America
Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig team up again after Frances Ha and I couldn’t be more excited!!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zmf4PBQ_Ots

True Story
A serious movie from Jonah Hill and James Franco? And it looks seriously creepy? Sign me up.

I Smile Back
And more seriousness, this time from Sarah Silverman. Yeah, you read that right…funny woman Sarah Silverman.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5Tbg2clPgk

Listen to Me Marlon
Compiled from the audio diaries and digital scan of the real Marlon Brando before his death in 2004.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CrpAP7EyrUQ

Cop Car
Two kids (literally kids) on the run from a police officer.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNW3wm1ECh4

Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief
You know we all want to know more about the ever-mysterious Scientology
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAi-eZRv6QY

The Wolfpack
Real-life Rapunzel’s being raised completely separated from the world who remake movies like Pulp Fiction as their only outlet to the rest of the world is through television. Sounds like what I’d do if I lived my life imprisoned.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBgR_5kN4rE

The Stanford Prison Experiment
Not a documentary, but basically all true, centered around the psychology experiment pitting college aged boys against each other as inmates and guards.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nESp6bEcqI8

The D Train
Jack Black as a reject who hires the most popular guy in his high school class (James Marsden) to be his friend at their 20 year reunion. Cue the laughs.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WyHaUrY7S1c

10 Most Anticipated Films

And the list of award winners, here!

The End of an Era

13 years and 9 movies later, Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter split up. They were one of my favorite Hollywood couples because they’re so weird, and never fail to let their freak flag fly. I’m also fascinated with their basically 3 way marriage to Johnny Depp (I wonder how he’s feeling about this break up…)

Planet of the Apes, creepy, but iconic

Big Fish, heartbreaking and one of the weirdest endings I’ve ever seen

Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, should have been continued to end the series

Corpse Bride, the first of many times acting with Johnny Deep

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a great and terrifying remake

Sweeney Todd: Demon Barber of Fleet Street, one of my top 3 favorite musical movies

Alice in Wonderland, mad as a hatter, but I loved it

Dark Shadows, weird, but they can’t all be awesome

Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass (2016), yay, we get one more movie collaboration

If you haven’t seen any of these, go watch them (especially Sweeney Todd). Do it as a memorial to the partnership of this terrifyingly weird couple who will hopefully still make movies together for many, many years. Seriously though, They weird, twisted stories are too awesome to lose.

Really, as long as this doesn’t stop happening I’ll be so, so happy.

R.I.P. one of the greatest director/actress combos ever.

Almost Famous

They finally put one of my favorite movies on Netflix!! I’ve loved Almost Famous since I watched it at my best friends house when we were 12. What do I love about it?

To start, everything.

If you haven’t seen this movie, stop what you’re doing and go watch it right now. It’s based off Cameron Crowe’s early life as a music critic/writer for magazines like Rolling Stone, and when he handed the script to Steven Spielberg, Spielberg handed it back and said “Direct every word.” So he did and it was great. It’s also Kate Hudson’s first major movie and she is the spirit of the whole movie. The scene of her dancing alone in the music arena is one of my favorite. So is the one below.

 I’ve always thought I was born in the wrong generation. Yes, I use my cell phone and love my laptop, but they’re necessities to survive in this decade. I want a time where they weren’t. Everything nowadays is flooded and fleeting and there’s not as much meaning in stuff anymore. My mom always told me about how she and a friend would spend hours calling a radio station using different fake voices just so they would play their favorite song. No one does that anymore. Not when we can go on YouTube and listen to every song ever. Everything is homogenized now. I’d have been happy growing up in any of the decades. Preferably born mid 50’s so I could be a teen with great music, graduate college and move to L.A. in the 70’s when movies were just amazing, and then live out the rest of my life complaining that the younger generation of kids are ruining America. I literally sound 100 years old right not and I don’t care. I’ll go sit with my polaroid camera and record player and be happy.

Highlights of my favorite decades.

50’s: the fashion & rock n roll

60’s: the music

70’s: Hollywood! Scorsese, Coppola, Lucas, Spielberg, Carpenter, Friedkin, De Palma

80’s: MTV when they actually played music and Ronald Reagan

90’s: I’ve always wanted to live like every episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

I’m nostalgic for times I never even knew.

And now I’m going to contradict everything I just said and give you the Almost Famous soundtrack and trailer. Watch it, listen to it. It’s rad.