The pre-Oscar fever

Feb 21, 2015, 08:04 IST | Santa Mehra

With the judgment day upon us, we shed light on controversies surrounding the Academy-nominated films as well as the parties leading to the glamorous night

The Oscar night (morning for us) is just a day away and stars are probably busy cutting down calories to feel at ease in the bold custom cuts that must have already made their way from the designer’s studio to their homes.

Freida Pinto
Freida Pinto will host the Vanity Fair Pre Oscar Party in Los Angeles today for the second consecutive time. It is part of her commitment to Girl Rising — a movement centered on a film with stories of nine girls born into unforgiving circumstances

Before the red carpet rolls, hitlist takes a look at another aspect of the Academy Awards that will attract as much attention — controversies revolving around the nominated films. After all, when the cameras pick frames of frowning celebrities, you wouldn’t be left wondering about their expressions.

The Propagandist
American Sniper
Film: American Sniper
In a nutshell: News spewing from all corners has reduced Clint Eastwood’s biopic of Chris Kyle into pro-war propaganda. It is not the mere flights of fancy of those who are pressing for the immediate removal of American troops from Iraq as the film fared very well at the box office despite being severely crticised for its message — leading us to the theory cited by analysts. Inspired from the autobiography of Kyle, the makers leave a very valid question unanswered — whether Kyle is a hero or a murderer. According to the dissenters, the film, which crossed 300 million dollars domestically, has depicted Kyle as a hero.
Nominations: Best Picture and Actor in a Leading Role

Not considered
Gone Girl
Film: Gone Girl
In a nutshell: All those stumped by the film’s ending would be sad to know that it has yet another twist — that the Academy has decided to snub it with just a single nomination.
Nominations: Actress in a Leading Role

Hardly true
The Theory of Everything
Film: The Theory of Everything
In a nutshell: The theory of many critics is that while filmmakers must thrive on the opportunity to portray a character in their own way, director James Marsh and screenplay writer Anthony McCarten have taken creative liberty too far. So as Chris Kyle’s widow has allegedly withheld profits from her husband’s autobiography, Jane Hawking, the wife of Stephen Hawking, is busy wondering why her husband’s biopic is quite unlike the times she has spent with him.
Nominations: Best Picture, Actor in a Leading Role, Actress in a Leading Role

Inaccurate history
The Imitation Game
Film: The Imitation Game
In a nutshell: Another biopic that has faced the music for making jarring conclusions that doesn’t run parallel to the historical truth is The Imitation Game. At the critic’s lab this film has been intricately dissected to reveal flaws that make the film a miscoloured representation of the otherwise colourful Alan Turing (played by Benedict Cumberbatch). The biographer of the World War 2 mathematician Alan Turing, who has been dubbed as the father of modern computing, has always maintained that he was a homosexual and the depiction of Keira Knightley adds fictional touch to the biopic.
Nominations: Best Picture, Actor in a Leading Role, Actress in a Supporting Role and Direction

Racism revisited

Film: Selma
In a nutshell: Many have questioned the Academy’s decision of overlooking the performance of David Oyelowo (who plays Martin Luther King Jr) and director Ava DuVernay for nominations. The decision mirrors the scenario in 1999 when no coloured person was nominated in the acting category. Do consider that in 86 years not one African-American has won an Oscar for direction.
Nominations: Best Picture

Other nominated films that released here
>> Birdman: Through his debut in Broadway, the hugely popular film star Riggan Thomas tries to reinstate himself. The fear of failure and the agony of being part of a new generation of viewers are shown beautifully through images by director Alejandro González Iñárritu aided by cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki.
>> The Grand Budapest Hotel: Breezy, light-hearted and intermittently poignant, this film stood out amongst other emotional dramas that dominate the Oscars this year. The icing on thea cake was Ralph Fiennes.
>> Boyhood: A labour of love, or rather growing up, Richard Linklater’s American coming-of-age drama is one of the strong contenders for the Academy Award. Special mention has to be made of Ellar Coltrane, who literally lived the role.
>> Foxcatcher: John DuPont had everything at his disposal and was obsessive in his ways, but all that ended once he was imprisoned in the ’90s. The film tells the story of this man before the arrest. Though a well made movie, Foxcatcher couldn’t be as sensational as it tried to be. But the film still takes the audience as long as they are stationed within the dramatic whirlwind of events, so an academy nod was inevitable.
>> Whiplash and Wild, which released in India yesterday, are also in the Oscar race. Read the reviews on page 18

Big bash

Freida Pinto will host her Hollywood colleagues at the Vanity Fair Pre-Oscar party in Los Angeles today. This will be the second time that she will host the event, as part of building awareness and to benefit the actress’ non profit production venture Girl Rising. Girl Rising is a movement centered on a film with stories of nine girls from various countries and Hollywood actresses giving their voice-over to the stories. Several Bollywood bigwigs are now attached to the Indian version of the film. The money raised will be directed towards investing in other initiatives under the campaign. “As a producer and ambassador for the campaign, I feel proud to see our baby taking its first steps, becoming a revolution, aiming at giving girls much required chance to unleash their full potential — one that aims at changing mindsets towards India’s daughters,” says Freida.

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