Last year I made a rod for my own back by putting out the “1st Annual Craggus Movie Awards” and now, on the eve of the 87th Academy Awards, here I am paying the price for saying “1st Annual”.
The rules: only movies released in 2014 in the UK are eligible (including preview screenings and, to be honest, I’ve bent the rules a bit because I only settled on a definitive dating approach recently). Only films I or The Mertmas have personally seen can be nominated and if a film we’ve seen has an Oscar nomination, it automatically gets a Craggus nomination. Our winners were chosen on the basis of personal preference and may bear no similarity to technical or artistic achievement, real or imagined!
Now, on with the show!
- Steve Carell (Foxcatcher)
- Bradley Cooper (American Sniper)
- Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game)
- Michael Keaton (Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance))
- Andy Serkis (Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes)
- Timothy Spall (Mr Turner)
- David Oyelowo (Selma)
Now the Craggus Award can’t go to the annointed Oscar front runner Eddie Redmayne as I haven’t seen it yet, but the other nominees are good ones, although I feel Bradley Cooper would be a bit of a surprise given his rivals. I’ve added in three nominations I think are richly deserved: David Oyelowo for his understated but compelling turn as Martin Luther King Jr, Timothy Spall for his riveting turn as J M W Turner and Andy Serkis, who for so long has deserved recognition for his amazing performances which happen to translated via computer wizardry.
But my winner is Michael Keaton. So much of “Birdman” and its success rests on his shoulders, and he delivered an amazingly intense and intimate performance.
Winner: Michael Keaton
- Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl)
- Rene Russo (Nightcrawler)
- Essie Davis (The Babadook)
- Scarlett Johansson (Under The Skin)
As was the case last year, according to the Academy, I haven’t seen many good female lead performances this year. I disagree, though, so Rene Russo and Essie Davis get get Craggus nominations. And, of course, it wouldn’t be a Craggus Awards ceremony without a nomination for Scarlett Johanson, this time for her steely turn as an alien hunter in “Under The Skin” but the win this time goes to Essie Davis for her powerhouse turn in “The Babadook”.
Winner: Essie Davis
Best Supporting Actor
- Ethan Hawke (Boyhood)
- Edward Norton (Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance))
- Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher)
- J. K. Simmons (Whiplash)
Winner: J K Simmons
Best Supporting Actress
- Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
- Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game)
- Emma Stone (Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance))
- Meryl Streep (Into the Woods)
- Emily Blunt (Edge Of Tomorrow)
Going just by the Oscar nominations, this is a fairly bland choice. While all the performances were good, nothing really stood out and I guess the Academy felt the same given Meryl Streep’s nod for The Witch in “Into The Woods”. Yes, it was a fun performance, but Oscar-worthy? Anyway, there’s no genre snobbery here so I’m giving a nomination – and, in fact, the award – to Emily Blunt for her ‘Full Metal Bitch’ in “Edge Of Tomorrow”.
Winner: Emily Blunt
Best Animated Feature
Okay, so I’ll correct the Academy’s oversight and give “The Lego Movie” a nomination and I’ll give a nod to the charming and colourful “The Book Of Life” too. But the Craggus award goes to the quirky and intricate stop motion animated feature “The Boxtrolls”.
Winner: “The Boxtrolls”
- “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”
- “Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes”
- “Guardians Of The Galaxy”
- “X-Men: Days Of Future Past”
This is an incredibly strong field this year but there’s really only one clear choice for the win. Whatever other problems I have with the movie, I can’t deny it looks freakin’ amazing. It’s a deserved win for “Interstellar”.
- Wes Anderson – “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
- Alejandro González Iñárritu – “Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
- Richard Linklater – “Boyhood”
- Bennett Miller – “Foxcatcher”
- Morten Tyldum – “The Imitation Game”
Winner: Richard Linklater – “Boyhood”
- American Sniper
- Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
- The Grand Budapest Hotel
- The Imitation Game
- The Theory of Everything
If it weren’t for “The Theory Of Everything”, I’d be claiming a clean sweep of having seen all the Best Picture Oscar nominated films this year, and what a cracking list it is. I’m giving this award based on the one which entertained and delighted me the most, which means it’s a win for “The Grand Budapest Hotel”.
Winner: “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
And now onto The Mertie – picked exclusively by and for the younger cinema goer.
The Mertie Award for Best Movie of 2014 nominations are:
I’d love to throw the others a bone and claim this was a close run thing and while “Paddington” may have managed to score a poster on his bedroom wall alongside “Guardians Of The Galaxy” but he doesn’t have “Get Santa” action figures, he doesn’t have a “Maleficent” bedspread and he hasn’t watched “The Boxtrolls” about a dozen times since getting the DVD. Of course, the Mertie Award for 2014 goes to…“Guardians Of The Galaxy”!
Winner: “Guardians Of The Galaxy”
So there we have it, a bunch of fictitious and arbitrary awards have been handed out to a bunch of movies The Mertmas and I liked. What do you think? Did we get it wrong? Are we guilty of outrageous miscarriages of artistic justice?
Let us know who you’d have nominated and who you’d have picked as winners. In the meantime, best of luck to all tonight’s Oscar nominees and especially the host, Neil Patrick Harris!