By Riley Coven
This year’s Academy Awards boasted a plethora of outstanding films. There were amazing new feats in all categories of awards and I personally thought every winner was more than well deserved, especially the top five. The recipients of Best Screenplay, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and of course Best Picture were all incredible in their own right.
Best Screenplay (Adapted): Graham Moore’s script for “The Imitation Game” took home this Oscar and it couldn’t have gone to a more worthy recipient. The film stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing during the height of WWII. As he races to find a way to crack the German code, he is forced to hide his sexuality or face persecution from his own country. The script is swift and powerful, crafting Turing as a tortured genius and accurately displaying the struggles he endured. It’s smartly written and gives us a strong idea of the time period as well as the emotional state of all the characters.
Best Screenplay (Original): Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo collaborated on the script for “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” and received the Oscar for their efforts. Also winning in multiple other categories, “Birdman” tells the story of a washed up actor just trying to be somebody again. The deftly woven and deeply moving script illuminates its characters and features biting dialogue throughout. There is never a dull moment, and for a movie without cuts, a strong screenplay is vital. Fortunately this one was more than enough.
Best Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu received another Oscar, this time for his work in the direction of “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance).” I don’t think I’ve ever been happier with an awards decision. Iñárritu’s style was unprecedented, and to pull off something so outlandish was incredible to watch. His entire film had no cuts, not once. Instead, the lives of the characters were left on display 24/7 and resulted in one of the best films in recent years.
Best Actor: Eddie Redmayne won his first Oscar for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything.” While part of me wanted Michael Keaton to take home the Academy Award, after seeing Redmayne’s portrayal I wasn’t disappointed. He embodied the role of Stephen Hawking like nothing I’d seen before. From the early years in college to being later confined to a wheelchair, he was Stephen Hawking. Acting only with his eyes at certain points he conveyed the scenes with such believability it was astounding.
Best Actress: Julianne Moore left with an Oscar of her own this year after her performance in “Still Alice.” A college professor realizing she is suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s is not an easy role to play. As difficult as it was, Moore still was able to give a heartfelt and gut-wrenching performance. She made us care for Alice Howland, and as unbearable as it was to watch her life fall apart, it was incredible to see the strength she had.
Best Picture: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher and James W. Skotchdopole took home this year’s number one honor for, you guessed it, “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance).” Iñárritu’s third Oscar of the night was the most important. As I’ve stated before, “Birdman” is a film that I couldn’t support more. Featuring a revolutionary style of direction, a crisp screenplay, and outstanding leads in every role, the film was just about perfect. It’s a movie that I think everyone should see at some point in their life, as the story of Riggan Thomson is one we can all relate to. It’s a beautiful film and deserves all the recognition it receives.