Best Motion Picture:
The race is probably down to Boyhood and Birdman, but I’m leaning with Boyhood. I think its main advantages are Linklater’s status as the Best Director frontrunner and its broader appeal – Birdman may be a little too stylized and esoteric for some Oscar voters. American Sniper may be the dark horse, but I think there will be enough voters that rank it low enough on their list to keep it away. The mere achievement of Boyhood and its broad, inoffensive appeal won’t garner as many low scores, with more consistent high scores.
This year’s Oscar animated short films are extremely varied in tone, style of animation, and subject matter. That variation created a very strong category this year for the Academy Awards. I do not envy the voters because I do not know which one I would choose this year. It is always incredible to see how filmmakers/animators are able to tell such remarkable stories in less than twenty minutes, and in one case in less than three.
A Single Life
Life often feels like it is speeding away. Just yesterday you were in grade school, or college, or getting married. “A Single Life” highlights those feelings by telling the story of an entire life in out of order moments. “A Single Life” is the shortest entry coming in at just over two minutes. The story is very simple; a woman is sitting down with a pizza when she receives a record titled “A Single Life” at her door. As she begins listening to the record her pizza disappears. She realizes that as she moves forwards and backwards on the record she moves forwards and backwards in time. This film is short but sweet and possibly my favorite of the nominated films. Pien Feith is the voice on the record and the song is catchy and fun. The directing and animating team behind “A Single Life” have mastered the difficult art of short story telling. “A Single Life” is clever, funny, and poignant all in about one hundred and thirty-five seconds.