‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ re-released amid award season

20 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ gets re-release today after Oscar noms.

When the full slate of potential awardees for the 87th annual Academy Awards was announced Thursday morning, “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” Wes Anderson’s exquisite historical toybox, and Alejandro Iñárritu’s “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance),” about a movie star’s Broadway meltdown, came away with nine nominations each, including best picture, director, and original screenplay. “The Imitation Game,” a WWII drama about mathematician Alan Turing, was nominated for eight Oscars, including best picture, director, actor (Benedict Cumberbatch), adapted screenplay, and supporting actress (Keira Knightley).

So it makes sense that Fox Searchlight announced is re-releasing Wes Anderson’s film, which also won the Golden Globe for Best Musical or Comedy, in 17 cities beginning today, Jan. 16. Atsushi Nishijima/ Fox Searchlight hide caption [At the top of this post, you’ll find a discussion I had with Stephen Thompson, my Pop Culture Happy Hour co-panelist, about the Oscar nominations. Locations where the film is playing include New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas, Washington DC, Phoenix, San Diego, Denver, Houston, Seattle, Columbus, and Cincinnati. The Grand Budapest Hotel, about the concierge at the titular hotel in the fictional Zubrowka, was released in March, early for a Best Picture nominee.

Speaking of eight, this year, eight films will compete for Best Picture: The Imitation Game, liberally adapted from the actual life of Alan Turing, the mathematician who broke Germany’s Enigma Code during World War II and was later prosecuted for homosexuality. By common consensus, the 2014 film most overlooked by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was “Selma,” Ava DuVernay’s dramatization of Martin Luther King’s 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery march. Lead actresses are Marion Cotillard for Two Days One Night, Felicity Jones for The Theory of Everything, Julianne Moore for Still Alice, Rosamund Pike for Gone Girl, and Reese Witherspoon for Wild. The omission of DuVernay in the directing category — if nominated, she would have been the first African-American woman to be so honored — was not unexpected, given that she had been passed over in the Directors Guild nominations on Tuesday.

On the supporting actor side, the nominees are Robert Duvall for The Judge, Ethan Hawke for Boyhood, Edward Norton for Birdman, Mark Ruffalo for Foxcatcher, and J.K. But David Oyelowo’s towering yet wholly human performance as King seemed to most onlookers to be a shoo-in for best actor, and the film’s script was similarly ignored. Let’s not even get started on the lack of love for Timothy Spall, who clearly deserved to be in the running for playing painter JMW Turner in Mr Turner. Did the Oscars really turn down the chance to nominate a black woman for the first time in the history of this category when they glaringly omitted director Ava DuVernay for civil rights historical drama Selma from the list? Or perhaps the predominantly older, white, male Academy members felt that last year’s win for “12 Years a Slave” was enough social progress, thank you.

It’s worth noting that the acting nominations for 2014, a year marked by extreme racial divisions in American society, are all-white for only the third time in two decades. Other snubs? “The LEGO Movie” was assumed to be the front-runner in the best animation category and wasn’t even nominated; co-director Phil Lord tweeted a photo of an Oscar statuette made of yellow Legos with the words, “It’s okay!

Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” triumphed mostly in the technical categories, with five nominations that included original score and visual effects. The musical adaptation “Into the Woods” was nominated three times, including for Meryl Streep’s supporting performance, her 19th such honor and one that puts her further into the record books for most-nominated performer ever.

Kudos must be given to the Academy for recognising how overrated and fantastically mediocre Clint Eastwood’s direction of American Sniper (based on the life of the most lethal sniper in United States military history) was. It was refreshing as well to see Poland’s “Ida” nominated for its lustrous black-and-white cinematography as well as in the foreign-language category. How a film can qualify for Best Picture and have practically no other elements worthy of recognition is an eternal — but here, particularly painful — bit of bafflement. (My friend Bob Mondello will be heartbroken that Timothy Spall was not nominated in the same category for Mr. The Best Picture category can include up to 10 nominations — which is why we’re scratching our heads, wondering why Gone Girl, Foxcatcher, Nightcrawler, Inherent Vice, Mr Turner or Wild were all not on the list. Bob also points out that there are zero big box-office films among these eight Best Picture nominees.) Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, perhaps the most anticipated film of the year that doesn’t involve superheroes, grabbed five nominations, but other than the score, they’re all visual/sound — nothing in writing, acting, directing or cinematography.

We’re guessing the Academy doesn’t want to be friends with Jennifer Aniston, even though she ticked all the Oscar bait boxes by de-glamming and delivering a heartfelt dramatic performance as a chronic-pain sufferer in Cake. Life Itself – critically acclaimed Steve James’ documentary about the late celebrated film critic Roger Ebert – just didn’t get any love from the Oscar voters and we’re wondering why. That’s well within range for recent years, as prestige pictures have more and more focused on telling stories with various levels of connection to history. The extraordinarily popular and well-received The Lego Movie failed to get a nomination for Best Animated Feature against Big Hero 6, The Boxtrolls, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Song of the Sea and The Tale of Princess Kaguya.

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