And The Oscar Goes To…Boyhood?…The Grand Budapest Hotel?

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The 67th Annual Directors Guild of America Awards were held last night and Alejandro G. Inarritu won Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) and the film is now the front-runner to win the Oscar for Best Motion Picture of the Year.  Over the weekend I watched Boyhood and The Grand Budapest Hotel and after a brief analysis of my movie preference personality, I have decided that when it comes to film analysis I tend to react to movies on an emotional level and often fail to appreciate or recognize exceptional cinematography.  I faithfully read movie reviews and while I pay attention to the reviewers comments on the art and process of filming the movie, I am usually looking for the comments on the characters, plot, scene interpretations, and in-depth analysis about the films message.  I have watched three of the eight films nominated for Best Motion Picture and am surprised to say at this point that Birdman is my favorite.  I thought the acting was tremendous and It is a film that I would watch again and while I enjoyed Boyhood and The Grand Budapest Hotel, I probably would not watch either film again and I have to admit I did not respond to the wonderful filming techniques and characters in each film as I did to Birdman.

Boyhood, directed by Richard Linklater, is filmed over twelve years and follows the path through childhood of Mason Jr. (Ellar Coltrane), his sister Samantha (Lorelei Linklater), their mother Olivia (Patricia Arquette) and the ex-husand and father Mason Sr. (Ethan Hawke).  All of the acting performances were very good and the unique concept of filming a group of actors over twelve years and literally witnessing the children growing up on-screen and the parents aging was interesting, but I would have preferred more of a plot and in-depth exploration of childhood in exchange for only capturing moments of time in Mason Jr.’s life from age six through eighteen.  I was left with remembering the expressions on the children’s faces, especially Ellar Coltrane’s expressions, as they left homes and friends, started new schools, became a part of new families, lost families, made friends, dated, and tried to understand step-parents and parents.  There were many pivotal moments of childhood presented, especially for children of divorce, but unfortunately the moments often passed without adequate exploration or comment.  As for The Grand Budapest Hotel, I have to acknowledge that while I enjoyed the movie and the acting performances I again failed to appreciate the beauty of a film directed and co-written by Wes Anderson.  Next up on the Road to the Oscars is American Sniper and The Imitation Game.


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