by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian
And the Oscar goes to… Well, we don’t know yet, but the nominations are out. So many of the Oscar contenders get released at the end of the year, and then we don’t have them available for you to check out while everyone’s talking about them. But we do have several of the nominees that came out earlier in 2014. Look for these in our library.
The Grand Budapest Hotel is nominated for best picture, cinematography, costume design, directing, film editing, makeup and hairstyling, musical score, production design, and original screenplay. Ralph Fiennes stars as a concierge at a famous hotel in a fictional European country between the world wars. The story involves the theft of a famous painting and the battle for a family fortune. Director Wes Anderson has his followers, and it sounds like this dark comedy is as quirky and visually stylish as his work normally is.
How to Train Your Dragon 2 is a well-loved sequel nominated for best animated feature film. Hiccup and his dragon Toothless explore new places and discover a hidden den of new dragons and a mysterious Dragon Rider. People of all ages have enjoyed this exciting and emotional film.
Ida is a Polish film nominated for best cinematography as well as best foreign language film. This movie tells the story of an orphan raised in a convent who is sent to meet her only living relative before she takes her vows to become a nun. She learns family secrets from the time of the Holocaust. This black and white film is set in the ‘60s.
Maleficent tells the villian’s side of the story for Sleeping Beauty, much like Wicked does for The Wizard of Oz. Angelina Jolie plays the title character, who was a good person until she was betrayed and became bent on revenge. Critics have praised Jolie’s performance, as well as the look of the film... if not much else. It is nominated for best costume design.
Finding Vivian Maier is nominated for best documentary feature. Maier was a mysterious nanny who is now considered one of the greatest street photographers of the 20th century. Her work of over 100,000 photographs was discovered after her death. This film explores her life and her art.
Guardians of the Galaxy is nominated for makeup and hairstyling as well as visual effects. Some critics have said that it would have been nice if the larger number of slots for best picture nominees would allow for critically-acclaimed popular movies like this one to be included. Instead the Academy still likes to stick with typically Oscar-ish movies in the big categories and keep the fun ones in the technical categories. This one is a crowd-pleaser.
Another very popular movie to be nominated is The Lego Movie. However, it was only nominated for best original song. It was expected to be a contender to win the award for best animated feature, and it isn’t even nominated in that category. It’s a great movie to watch with the whole family, however, and you will be singing the song “Everything is Awesome” once you’re done watching it.
Our library also has Begin Again, nominated for best song; Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, nominated for visual effects; and X-Men: Days of Future Past, also nominated for visual effects.
If you’d like to see the movies that are being celebrated this year and decide for yourself which you think are best, stop in to check out one from this list. We will be adding more of the nominees when they become available on DVD.