• Best Picture – Arnon Milchan, Steve Golin, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Mary Parent and Keith Redmon
  • Best Actor – Leonardo DiCaprio
  • Best Supporting Actor – Tom Hardy
  • Best Cinematography – Emmanuel Lubezki
  • Best Costume Design – Jacqueline West
  • Best Director – Alejandro G. Iñárritu
  • Best Film Editing – Stephen Mirrione
  • Best Makeup and Hairstyling – Siân Grigg, Duncan Jarman and Robert Pandini
  • Best Production Design – Jack Fisk (Production Design); Hamish Purdy (Set Decoration)
  • Best Sound Editing – Martin Hernandez and Lon Bender
  • Best Sound Mixing – Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Randy Thom and Chris Duesterdiek
  • Best Visual Effects – Rich McBride, Matthew Shumway, Jason Smith and Cameron Waldbauer


A long time ago, I stopped pretending I didn’t want to see a movie just because Leonardo DiCaprio was in it. When you aren’t even 30 years old and you’ve managed to keep the same favorite actor for about 20 years, I think it’s okay to admit that that actor pulls enough weight to make you see any movie he’s in. But I’m lucky. Leo makes it really easy for me because he keeps putting out incredible performances in equally amazing movies, and his performance as Hugh Glass in The Revenant is no exception.

Overall, other than Leo’s performance, the thing that struck me the most about The Revenant was how director Iñárritu’s style made you feel like you were there, not watching a movie. When “there” is 19th century frozen, battle-ridden wilderness, that’s certainly saying a lot. Iñárritu favors long, winding shots that often give you a total 360 view of what’s going on. So instead of breaking up shots, the camera just moves around as if you yourself are looking around. There is also a decent amount of shots showing the camera almost being interacted with; both blood and breath end up on the camera lens. As someone who wears glasses, there are few things that subconsciously make me feel like I’m living the action as much as seeing a lens fog up.

But obviously, the cornerstone of The Revenant is Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance. For most of the movie, Leo carries all of his scenes entirely on his own. When there’s a movie with a lack of dialogue and actors and/or you’re mostly following one actor and their actions, I think a good way to determine how successful a performance was is by how compelling they were. I wanted to watch Leo trudge through the wilderness, figure out ways to survive. It was interesting, even if he didn’t have anyone to talk to. Watching his face shows that he doesn’t need anyone to act off of in order to act beautifully. I think the scene I was most impressed with was the now-infamous bear attack. Glass being attacked by a bear is the real inciting action for the whole story, so it’s important. The way it was shot was incredible and so tense; first, like Glass, you only see two bear cubs – with no mother. That never bodes well, and only after the camera pans around the forest do you realize, at the same time as Glass, that the mama bear is behind Glass, ready to attack. Now, I’m not an expert in acting, so I don’t know how you’re supposed to perform a scene where you’re mauled by a bear. We know Leo wasn’t really mauled by a bear, so what do you do – scream a lot? How much acting actually goes into a scene like that? If you’re Leo – a whole lot. In the hands of another actor, the scene would have looked fake or not that vicious. But when Leo screams, it’s from his gut, from his heart. Tears come out of his eyes the moment the bear claws at him, he grits his teeth as the bear throws him around, he tries to suppress his moans as his eyes bug out while the bear stands on him. When you have a bear attack scene where A.) You know the bear attack is not real and B.) You know the character must survive the attack given the context of the movie, and you still manage to make the scene horrific and terrifying, I think everyone involved has really done an incredible job.

And Tom Hardy was sort of perfect as Fitzgerald, a trapper that is dumb, smart, and dangerous all at once. I couldn’t help but think that he sounded exactly like a character from Kroll Show‘s “Pawnsylvania,” but other than that I was totally engaged with his performance. He was the perfect mix of being a bit of comic relief while also being the scariest character of all.

Obviously, if Leo does not win the Oscar for this it will be clear evidence of my long-suspected Don’t-Give-Leo-The-Oscar conspiracy, because he was incredible. And all in all, I really thought the whole movie was incredible and I highly recommend seeing it in theaters – especially if the theater is cold – so you get the full effect of feeling like you’re within the movie.


It’s hard to go to a movie like this and not expect the best. It’s from a director that won an Oscar last year, actors that are always at least nominated for awards, and it sounds like it was almost impossible to film. Even knowing and thinking about all that, I still walked away from The Revenant loving it!

I think the biggest thing about the movie is it’s slow pace. However, it did not feel like it took forever to watch the movie. I think the way the movie used time and nature to really demonstrate how hopeless humans can be in nature really made the story compelling. Apart from the bear attack and issues with Tom Hardy, the way the camera used nature to dwarf the characters in this film was very impressive. It never felt like anyone had an upper hand in this long revenge plot. Like Birdman with people walking through doors, the shot we continued to see in The Revenant was looking up at trees as well as people walking with giant mountains behind them. I really like those shots though because each time the trees or mountains were slightly different. It seems weird but it was a nice small way that kept my interest in the film and help make the time really fly by when watching.

I remember too well being really into 21 Grams; I really love that Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu is still in Hollywood’s limelight. After seeing Birdman and now The Revenant, I really want to go back and watch his earlier work.


One of the best moments? Or THE best moment?
One of the best moments? Or THE best moment?


Well, we didn’t get very far in our Oscar campaign this year. This was because of a few reasons, but the main one being that by the time the nominations came out, a good number of the movies were already out of theaters but not on DVD yet. So it’s a lot harder to pick up the slack when you have no way to do it. Out of the 60 unique films nominated, we only saw 10 this year. But this time we sort of went forwards instead of backwards; we usually start with smaller movies that maybe have a couple of nominations and save bigger ones for last. So this year we may have seen less, but I felt like I knew more about who I wanted to win this year than I have in a while.

Best Picture – Out of all the nominees, my favorites were Grand Budapest Hotel and Birdman. I was secretly hoping for a Grand Budapest Hotel sweep, because seeing a Wes Anderson movie sweep the Oscars would sort of be a dream come true, but I’m really just as happy with Birdman.

Best Actor – Ehhhh. The Theory of Everything wasn’t good, but Eddie Redmayne was pretty good in it. At least better than Bradley Cooper. But was he better than Michael Keaton or Benedict Cumberbatch? I don’t think so.

Best Actress – The Best Actress category was chock full of stuff I didn’t want see. I never wanted to see The Theory of Everything. Wild looked amazing but I felt like watching a movie about a younger woman losing her mother would be too emotionally traumatic for me to be worth it. Still Alice also looked amazing, but it was kind of along the same lines as Wild in terms of sadness. Basically, I just knew I didn’t want Felicity Jones to win this. But when Julianne Moore won . . . well that was such a long time coming that it was really great. I personally would have liked to see her win a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for The Big Lebowski, but maybe that’s just me.

Best Supporting Actor – I kind of figured this would happen. Whiplash was terrible but I do love J.K. Simmons, and the Oscars love it when actors yell a lot. But again, it’s J.K. Simmons, so I really can’t not be okay with him winning.

Best Supporting Actress – YESSSSSSSSSSS!!!!! Our girl! Patricia Arquette! Patricia Arquette is a little special to us because we both love True Romance so much and her character in Boardwalk Empire is totally badass and amazing. She also looked hot as hell in True Romance and looked beautiful in Boyhood, without looking weird and plasticy. But, obviously, my favorite moment of probably the entire night was her amazing acceptance speech, which ended with a badass call for women’s equality that Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez lost their shit over. It was amazing.

Best Director – I have to say, I loved Birdman but I was disappointed that this didn’t go to Richard Linklater. Usually I hate it when the way a movie is filmed is valued over the movie itself, but I do think that Linklater deserved recognition for what he did with Boyhood.

Best Film Editing – Uh, yeah, same for this one. First of all, Whiplash won and Whiplash was only allowed a pass for J.K. Simmons winning. Second of all, can you imagine the editing that went into a movie filmed over 12 years? I guess I feel like if I edited Boyhood and fucking Whiplash won over me, I would quit.

Best Foreign Language Film – Perfect! The only one we saw won! Usually the opposite happens. So even though we didn’t watch the others, Ida was so good and such a good movie watching experience that I’m really happy it won. I personally think it also should have won cinematography, but that was never going to happen.

Best Makeup/Hair/Costume/Production Design – This wasn’t the Wes Anderson sweep I was hoping for, but Grand Budapest Hotel deserved these more than anything else.

Best Sound Mixing – I truly have 0 opinion on sound mixing, but I was pissed Whiplash won another.

Best Adapted Screenplay – I didn’t think this was really the strongest category. We didn’t see Inherent Vice, but I mostly just knew I didn’t want American Sniper, The Theory of Everything, or goddamn Whiplash to win. So I was happy with this one, and Graham Moore’s acceptance speech made me choke up a little.

Best Original Screenplay – Good call.


Another year and the Oscars have come and gone. Although it seems so much faster this year. We definitely came nowhere close to watching all the Oscar movies. I mean I don’t think we even came close to watching half. However, I did feel like I knew a little more of what was going on just because we watched more of the main pictures this year. We did miss Selma, which we really need to watch soon but I’m glad we watched what we did. I do really want to try to watch all the animated shorts and a few of the foreign films and documentaries.

Also, I thought the actual show was better than it has in the past. It was a lot less harsh of the audience which I liked. I do think the whole Oscar ballot in a glass box skit fell flat every time it was mentioned but I knew it had to be magic related considering the host, Neil Patrick Harris. And of course Harris was far better than someone like Seth MacFarlane. And of course I thought the worst moment of the night was Sean Penn’s green card joke(?).

I felt overall this year was not that great. I felt like the last two years had a lot more films I enjoyed watching, especially best pictures. Can’t wait for next year though!





  • Best Picture – Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales and Jeremy Dawson
  • Best Cinematography – Robert Yeoman
  • Best Costume Design – Milena Canonero
  • Best Director – Wes Anderson
  • Best Film Editing – Barney Pilling
  • Best Makeup and Hairstyling – Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier
  • Best Original Score – Alexandre Desplat
  • Best Production Design – Adam Stockhausen (Production Design); Anna Pinnock (Set Decoration)
  • Best Original Screenplay – Screenplay by Wes Anderson; Story by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness


I think the very first thing that struck me about The Grand Budapest Hotel was its scale. I definitely associate Wes Anderson with meticulous set pieces and beautiful locations, but this was to a level that I thought was impressive for even him. The film takes place in the fictional country of Republic of Zubrowka, which gives Anderson the ability to create an entire fake world based in our real world. It reminded me of The Royal Tenenbaums in that way; even though that took place in New York, it feels like a New York that isn’t real. But every shot of The Grand Budapest Hotel is packed, and in the best way possible. Packed with people, packed with set pieces – this comes through even in shots that are pretty sparse. Instead of feeling claustrophobic, it made it feel real, like this world was old and lived-in. Another great part of having a fake country is that this giant cast is full of natural accents; American, English, Irish, etc etc. But this country has no accent, so it’s not wrong to have everyone in their natural voice. Again, it just makes it feel more natural.

Wes Anderson’s ability to handle a massive cast has never been more clear than with The Grand Budapest Hotel. While he’s just as able to work with a more paired-down cast (Bottle Rocket, The Darjeeling Limited), I think his ability to handle this size cast is one of his most impressive talents. This cast ranges from Anderson regulars with small parts (Schwartzman, Wilson, Murray), new-to-Anderson actors (Keitel, Ronan, Fiennes), and with a straight-up new actor as the film’s driving force (Revolori). Even with that kind of mix, no one feels out of place or obvious. Everyone manages to blend in together somehow to form this weird world that doesn’t always feel all that weird.

But really, like with all of Wes Anderson’s movies, my absolute favorite part is the story and the characters within it. The story is wrapped up in a perfect package without feeling contrite; instead it just feels like Anderson is really good at framing his stories. And like the cast, the story is large: multiple romances, multiple villains, multiple narrators, an art heist, war, pastries . . . every element of the story is cared for by Anderson. You’re never lost, you’re never wondering why something is the way it is, you just follow along. It manages to feel completely original and like an old storybook all at once.

I loved Moonrise Kingdom, but I loved The Grand Budapest Hotel even more. Even though it’s his latest and just came out a year ago, I feel like it’s already the most classic Wes Anderson film that he’s made.


Since the Oscars are just around the corner and the list was released last Thursday, Elizabeth and I are finally ready to get into trying to watch everything on the list! Hopefully we’ll get even further this year. It seems like a lot people are upset with some of the nominations, and I’m sure with good reason, but as we start watching everything in each category I think I’ll have a better understanding of what deserves to be on the list and what didn’t. The first movie we’re starting with is The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Ever since I stumbled across Bottle Rocket on Comedy Central back in middle school or whenever, I’ve been pretty into Wes Anderson and his films. I really enjoyed his last movie, Moonrise Kingdom, but I was a little nervous about seeing The Grand Budapest Hotel. I think the number of scenes that were shown in the trailer made me nervous that the film was going to be very difficult to follow and was going to take place in multiple locations just to make it look pretty. However, I did not find this to be the case at all while watching the film.

Although some of the set-up might have been confusing for some, I found the storytelling upon storytelling to work in the film’s favor. It did an excellent job of feeling like it was taking you through time and mediums. The girl in the beginning is reading a book, we get to see the writer talking to a camera about when he was inspired to write the book, we see the author meet the protagonist, who in turns tells the story that inspired the writer to write the book that the girl is reading on a bench. See…it sounds like it would be confusing but it creates a sense of importance. That the events that take place around The Grand Budapest Hotel are so important that their stories last through time. This movie did a fantastic job of creating layers.

In that same sense I feel like this felt like Wes Anderson’s biggest movie. It felt like he spent a ton on money but in reality he only spent around 26 million. Just a drop in the hat to someone like James Cameron who spends a shitload but skips the whole having a good story thing. I loved how there were so many extras in this film. So many scenes felt like an I Spy page.

I would totally recommend this movie to anyone. I think it has many appealing elements that would draw in a wide variety of individuals. I’m not sure if this will be my favorite Oscar movie, but I know with just this and Captain America: The Winter Soldier as the only two we’ve seen, it’s at the top of my list right now.




  • Best Picture (Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, and Michael De Luca – Producers)
  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Barkhad Abdi)
  • Best Film Editing (Christopher Rouse)
  • Best Sound Editing (Oliver Tarney)
  • Best Sound Mixing (Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith, and Chris Munro)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay (Billy Ray)


This movie was crazy. I didn’t really expect to enjoy it but I thought it was great! I think I must really like movies involving modern day pirates. I think I’m alone on this but I have always thought of Life Aquatic as my favorite Wes Anderson movie. But anyway, Captain Philips held my attention all the way through. Before we watched it I thought the movie was going to drag on, I really couldn’t imagine what the story was going to be the whole time. But it worked in every way! I really don’t have a lot to say except I loved it so if you haven’t seen it yet, check it out! It’s at Redbox at least.


I really did not want to see Captain Philips when it first came out. Pirates are too scary and it just seemed way too stressful. But Chris pointed out that it was probably going to get nominated for Oscars, so I knew I would have to see it. But I’m glad it did get nominated, because it was really good.

Captain Philips is not as stressful as I thought it was going to be, but I mean that in a good way. I guess it helped that I knew Captain Philips (Tom Hanks) wasn’t going to die because the real Captain Philips is still alive. But the pacing of this movie was so good because it wasn’t relentless, but still kept you going. I liked that it focused a lot on the pirates, especially Muse (Barkhad Abdi) and what their situation was. That helped the movie avoid an ultra “Go USA!” tone that would have really gotten annoying. I also liked that they didn’t really focus on anyone’s family – the most you see is Philips’ wife in the beginning. We don’t need to check back with everyone’s families like they do in The Perfect Storm (which I hate) because we understand how worried and upset they must have been without needing to spend time seeing it. I also loved the relationship of Philips and Muse – they seemed to be weirdly equal, but then not at all equal, all at the same time.

Also, Captain Philips makes Tom Hanks look like a total badass, but also like a nice dad type of character. Who wouldn’t want to see that?




  • Best Picture (Gabrielle Tana, Steve Coogan, and Tracey Seaward – Producers)
  • Best Actress in a Leading Role (Judi Dench)
  • Best Original Score (Alexandre Desplat)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay (Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope)

Elizabeth (spoilers!)

I guess I’m not 100% sure how to feel about Philomena. It’s the kind of movie that I would feel guilty for not liking because it’s based on a true story and has good performances. But still, I feel sort of blah about it.

The story of Philomena is fairly tragic, and although it did happen, seems overly sappy at times. Philomena (Judi Dench) was sent to a convent as a teenager because she was pregnant. After giving birth, she was forced into hard labor there as payment for staying. While she was there, the nuns adopted out her son without telling her. Fast forward to old lady Philomena, who tells her story to Martin (Steve Coogan), a writer who sets out to help her find her son. Turns out the son was an American who had died 9 years before of AIDS. They then find out that he had tried to find his birth mother and went back to the convent, where the nuns told him that Philomena had abandoned him and they didn’t know where she was, even though she checked in with the nuns every few years. They also find out he’s buried in the convent’s cemetery. The end!!

I guess the biggest problem I had with the story is why we were supposed to care so much about this particular person. They repeatedly say that Philomena spent her whole life searching for her son, but in the beginning we see her tell her daughter about the existence of her son for the first time, some 50 years later. So she did go back to the convent to try to get their help to look for them, but saying she spent her whole life looking for him seems far fetched. He was a senior official for the Reagan and first Bush administrations. Would he have been that hard to track down? The movie takes place in present day, sooooo there’s the internet and all. I don’t know, I guess I just wasn’t that convinced. It’s a sad story but I just wasn’t really that interested.


I wasn’t sure what to expect when I saw this movie but I think in the end I was mostly bored. I left this movie asking too many questions. Namely, why was this made into a movie. I enjoyed most of the story but I ended up feeling like it was just a bunch of crazy coincidences. I didn’t really care too much about Philomina the person. I would say, if you’re interested, watch this, but there were way too many other incredible movies that came out in 2013 to watch first.


Well, once again, we didn’t make our goal of seeing all the Oscar-nominated movies this year. But we did see a decent amount, and in our defense, the movies were prettyyyyyyy intense this year.

Here’s what we saw:

1. American Hustle

2. Captain Philips

3. Dallas Buyers Club

4. Gravity

5. Her

6. Nebraska

7. Philomena

8. The Wolf of Wall Street

9. Blue Jasmine

10. The Croods

11. Frozen

12. Inside Llewyn Davis

13. The Act of Killing

14. Cutie and the Boxer

15. 20 Feet From Stardom

16. The Hunt

17. The Lone Ranger

18. Star Trek Into Darkness

19. Before Midnight

20. Feral

21. Get a Horse!

22. Mr Hublot

23. Possessions

24. Room on the Broom

25. That Wasn’t Me

26. Just Before Losing Everything

27. Helium

28. Do I Have To Take Care of Everything?

29. The Voorman Problem

Here’s what we didn’t see:

1. 12 Years A Slave

2. August: Osage County

3. Despicable Me 2

4. Ernest & Celestine

5. The Wind Rises

6. The Grandmaster

7. Prisoners

8. The Great Gatsby

9. The Invisible Woman

10. Dirty Wars

11. The Square

12. Broken Circle Breakdown

13. The Great Beauty

14. The Missing Picture

15. Omar

16. Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa

17. The Book Thief

18. Saving Mr. Banks

19. Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

20. All is Lost

21. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

22. Lone Survivor

23. Iron Man 3

24. Cavedigger

25. Facing Fear

26. Karama Has No Walls

27. The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life

28. Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall

Well, so we at least saw more than we didn’t see. But we’ll try again next year!




  • Best Picture (Charles Roven, Richard Suckle, Megan Ellison, and Jonathan Gordon – Producers)
  • Best Actor in a Leading Role (Christian Bale)
  • Best Actress in a Leading Role (Amy Adams)
  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Bradley Cooper)
  • Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Jennifer Lawrence)
  • Best Film Editing (Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers, and Alan Baumgarten)
  • Best Costume Design (Michael Wilkinson)
  • Best Production Design (Judy Becker – Production Design; Heather Loeffler – Set Decoration)
  • Best Director (David O. Russell)
  • Best Original Screenplay (Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell)


The best parts of this film are Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence. I kind of wish it was just about them because I didn’t find this story to be particularly compelling. This is the kind of movie where there is a kind of reveal at the end but I’m not sure if it’s really a surprise because you see it coming from the very beginning. I thought this movie started off stronger than it ended. I’m really not a David O. Russell fan in the first place and I really wanted to like this but I just find everything he does to be so boring. I can barely sit through anything he does and it’s not really because I’m completely uninterested in the subject, I just think he’s a poor director.

I did like this better than Silver Linings Playbook though, but I wouldn’t watch it again.


The fact that America’s “A Horse With No Name” played in probably the first 15 minutes of American Hustle really should have told me everything I needed to know about how I would feel about the movie. Because, you might not know this about me, but I happen to think that song is maybe the worst song ever created by man.

So, while American Hustle was substantially better than the train wreck that was Silver Linings Playbook, I still just didn’t really like it. And despite SLP, I wanted to like American Hustle. I love Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence, and Jeremy Renner. And they were all great in it. But to me, their performances really weren’t enough to make the movie completely worthwhile.

I’m going to take a controversial stance and say what I’ve thought for a long time: that Amy Adams is actually not that great of an actress. I’m not saying she’s bad. I thought she was very good in The Master. But I think that’s mostly because her character in that is supposed to be pretty stiff and calculating, and I think that’s how she comes off in every movie. All during American Hustle I just kept thinking that she was acting, which isn’t really a great characteristic. Also, I just don’t think she’s sexy. Which I never cared about or thought twice about until this movie, when she’s supposed to be ultra sexy. Amy Adams is gorgeous and can be very cute, but sexy? Especially not compared to Jennifer Lawrence.

So I guess the biggest problem I had with American Hustle is I didn’t really understand the point of anything anyone did. Irving (Christian Bale) and his girlfriend Sydney (Amy Adams) are con artists that promise loans to people, but take their money instead. They end up getting caught in the act by Richie (Bradley Cooper), an FBI agent. In exchange for their immunity, Richie has Irving and Sydney teach him about cons so that the FBI will be better able to catch con artists. Aaaaand this is where the movie lost me. They end up targeting Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner), a New Jersey mayor that is genuine and beloved by everyone. They basically entrap him, as far as I could gather. I couldn’t understand why they went after Polito in the first place. Why go after a good politician, rather than criminals or at least corrupt politicians? They do end up nabbing corrupt politicians, but at the expense of Polito. There’s also messiness with Richie and Sydney, as Sydney has somehow hidden her real identity from the FBI and is pretending to be British. WHY? I just didn’t get the point.

The best parts of American Hustle were, by far, Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence. Christian Bale was not the Christian Bale that I swooned over as a kid here: he was fat, hairy, and had a bad comb-over. But he was so great. Irving goes through most of the movie annoyed at everyone else not listening to him, even though he’s basically the only one who really knows what he’s doing. I loved seeing him get pissed off at Richie, who was basically insane. Even though I don’t really like Bradley Cooper, I did like his character because it felt like he was playing a similar character to the one in SLP, except this time it’s not just Chris and me who think he’s a total joke, it’s all the characters in the movie, too! And man, Jennifer Lawrence was great. I’m not sure it was exactly an Oscar-worthy performance, especially compared to someone like June Squibb, but she was great as Rosalyn, Irving’s possible insane wife. I really just enjoyed how genuine Irving was, which is weird to say about a character who’s a con artist. But he obviously truly loved Sydney, and truly cared about Rosalyn and her son, whom he adopted. He was sensitive and funny, which was nice to see in a movie like this.

I don’t want to say don’t see American Hustle because I feel like I’m in the minority of not really liking it. And it’s always worth seeing Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence in pretty much anything. Buuuuut . . . there’s better stuff out there.