Watch last year’s Oscar winners on Netflix now

Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography: Birdman or (the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

NN: Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman Or (The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance) – and, yes, I am obliged to refer to it by that ridiculous title – is a near-total fiasco from a filmmaker bent on impressing the world with his prodigious talent.

With this show-offy drama about a former superhero movie star Riggan (Michael Keaton) making his Broadway debut by writing, directing and starring in a drama based on the stories of Raymond Carver, Iñárritu – the director of the flashy puzzle pictures Amores Perros, 21 Grams, Babel and Biutiful – labours as intensely as his increasingly desperate protagonist, and with much the same results. Read more here. NW


Best Actress: Julianne Moore, Still Alice

Still Alice

NNN: A woman slowly loses her mind to Alzheimer’s. It’s not easy to give that premise much texture, but Still Alice succeeds because the script focuses less on Alice’s (Julianne Moore) relationships with family, including her husband (Alec Baldwin), and more on the ingenious strategies she uses to keep the ravages of her disease at bay. Read more here. SGC

Watch here.

Best Supporting Actor, Best Sound Mixing, Best Film Editing: Whiplash’s J.K. Simmons


Miles Teller buckles under his bully of an instructor (J.K. Simmons) in Whiplash.

NN: Audiences at Sundance and Cannes loved Whiplash, but I wonder how many of them subsequently realized its ultimate message is “Bullying works.”

If you’re carried along by the pure, impossible conflict at the heart of Damien Chazelle’s drama – about a drummer (Miles Teller) squaring off against a monstrous conductor (J.K. Simmons) for a potentially life-changing spot in his school’s jazz orchestra – then maybe you won’t mind. Read more here. NW

Watch on Netflix.

Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette in Boyhood



NNNNN: Shooting over 12 years to capture the maturation of Texas kid Mason (Ellar Coltrane) from first grade through leaving for college, Richard Linklater has accomplished something unprecedented: he’s captured what it was to live in that span of time.

Boyhood is long, packing in personal and political details as Mason’s adolescence plays out against the transition from Bush II to Obama, but there isn’t a wasted moment. Read more here. NW

Available here.

Best Adapted Screenplay: The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game

NNNN: First-rate performances and an irresistibly exciting and moving story help this drama rise above the traditional biopic.

Brilliant Cambridge mathematician and cryptanalyst Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) is hired by the British government to crack the Germans’ Enigma code during the Second World War. Used to working solo (he’d eventually lay the ground for the modern computer), he must collaborate with a team of misfit geniuses and keep their work a secret. Also secret is his homosexuality, which after the war gets him persecuted by the country he helped save. Read the rest here. GS

Watch on Netflix now.

Best Original Score, Best Production Design, Best Makeup and Styling, Best Costume Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel


Ralph Fiennes is at your service.

NNNN: A story within a story – several stories, actually – The Grand Budapest Hotel recounts the entirely fictional tale of Monsieur Gustave (Ralph Fiennes), the unflappable concierge of the eponymous mountaintop manse in the European country of Zubrowka, and his training of the young lobby boy Zero (Tony Revolori) in the ways of service and life. Read more here. NW

Watch here.

Best Original Song: Glory from Selma


NNN: This pic about the movement for black voting rights in 60s America comes at a time when racist killings have galvanized activism all over the U.S. But Selma would be a powerful film even without its current political resonance. Read the rest here. SGC

Available on Netflix.

Best Visual Effects: Interstellar


NNN: Interstellar is a gargantuan, high-concept world-beater kind of movie with sweeping God’s-eye-view images, the pace of a marathon runner and a thrumming Hans Zimmer score made up of one crescendo after another. Christopher Nolan’s pictures – even his Batman movies – have a self-importance that makes you believe the fate of the human race is at stake, and this time it actually is. Read the rest here. NW

Watch on Netflix.

Looking for theatre recommendations? Don’t miss our current film reviews.

Compiled by Kate Robertson | @nowtoronto

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